What Options Are Available for Victims of Police Brutality?
Written by AskTheLawyers.com™ on behalf of Richard Richardson with Siegal & Richardson.
Police brutality has become a common topic of conversation as cases involving excessive use of force by law enforcement are more frequently coming to light. Victims of police brutality may have options for recovery under law, despite the state and federal immunity that police officers have traditionally been protected by. Like any other profession, police officers are expected to respect civil rights and abide by the laws intended to protect citizens from unfair arrest and conviction practices, including improper seizure of property, lack of warrants, and use of excessive force during arrest or detainment. If you or a loved one were injured by police brutality, you may be eligible to file a claim against the liable officer or department.
Victims of police brutality may be eligible to seek recovery via a personal injury lawsuit in civil court.
Personal injury claims or lawsuits are legal civil actions that allow someone who was injured by the negligent or intentional conduct of another party to seek compensation for the resulting damages. Unlike criminal trials which are designed to assess the lawful or unlawful nature of an accused person’s conduct, civil lawsuits focus on the suffering of the injured party.
While criminal proceedings may result in a small amount of compensation recovery for the brutality victim, this is not the primary goal of a criminal proceeding. While criminal trials are focused on punishing the perpetrator, civil trials focus on compensating the person who suffered from negligent or unlawful behavior. This means that monetary recovery in a personal injury claim following police brutality is more likely to result in a comprehensive recovery, including compensation for medical bills, lost wages, pain and suffering, and more.
Locating and interpreting evidence in a police brutality case can be particularly tricky.
The difficulty with proving police brutality or a violation of civil rights during arrest or detainment is that the evidence is often not easily accessible. Certain types of evidence including bodycam footage, security footage, and even paperwork trails are not only difficult for the average person to gain access to, but maybe even more difficult to interpret in the context of the law. The good news is that police misconduct and brutality lawyers are extremely familiar with the law regarding civil rights during arrest, and they can help not only identify the violations of the law, but they can also help to identify existing and future damages that the injury victim might not even be aware of yet. The damages suffered by a victim of police brutality can be short-term, long-term, or even permanent.
Excessive force injury lawyers typically offer free consultations and work on a contingency fee basis.
This means that an injured person can have their case evaluated and even litigated at no out-of-pocket cost to them. The reason most personal injury lawyers work on contingency is so that injury victims and their families do not have to worry about yet another expense. In these scenarios, the lawyer only gets paid if and when the victim wins their case. Law enforcement officers that cross the line need to be held accountable, and victims of excessive force need to be compensated for any physical and psychological injury they needn’t have suffered in one of these events.
To learn more about police brutality or to file your own excessive force claim, reach out to an experienced police misconduct injury attorney in your area.