If a person was hurt in an auto accident while intoxicated and was forced to stay the night in jail, is it legal to not give them medical treatment?

A 19 year-old was in an auto accident while intoxicated. The car was totalled. I want to know if I have a case against the police? My son was not seen by a doctor and was forced to spend the night in jail. I was told that by right I could have paid $200and taken him out that night. But they didn’t let me. Should I speak with a personal injury attorney? In Providence, RI.

Asked on September 13, 2010 under Criminal Law, Rhode Island


M.S., Member, Connecticut Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

There are a couple of problems with a personal injury suit on your son's behalf.  First, in order to have any kind of case against the police, you would need to show that your son's condition is (significantly) worse because of the delay in receiving medical treatment.  If you cannot find a doctor who says that your son suffered ADDITIONAL injury as a result of a refusal to allow him to see a doctor, then your son will not have damages to justify a case against the police.  Moreover, any personal injury action on your son's behalf is complicated by the fact that he was drunk and arrested for DUI, and therefore 1) probably at fault, and 2) an unsympathetic plaintiff.  Nevertheless, it doesnt hurt to consult with a personal injury attorney to evaluate the merits of any potential claim in greater detail.

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