CALL (800) 863-5312 to speak with excessive force injury lawyers
Many private citizens take comfort in the fact that they have the ability to call 911 and have law enforcement arrive to come to their aid within minutes. For the most part, interactions with the police happen relatively routinely and without any major incidents. However, this is unfortunately not true for every situation the police respond to.
When you or a family member are hurt after excessive force by the police, it can feel like a betrayal to have been injured by those sworn to protect us. Getting fair treatment may require the help of an excessive force lawyer. Call Zinda Law Group today and schedule a 100% free consultation with one of our personal injury attorneys who have handed cases involving law enforcement excessive force; the number is (800) 863-5312, and you won’t be expected to pay us a thing unless we settle or win a case for you.
In an excessive force case, the key word to focus on is “excessive;” this is because police officers are generally allowed to use the amount of force that is necessary to make an arrest or defend themselves. Even if you were injured during an interaction with a law enforcement officer, it doesn’t necessarily mean that the force that they used was unlawful. Thus, the determination in whether you may be entitled to compensation comes down to whether the force that was applied was excessive.
Whether the force used by an officer was excessive or not is dependent on the unique facts of every case. For example, an officer may be allowed to use more force if the arrestee is not being compliant, and the amount of force that they can use on a suspect who is fleeing typically depends on whether that person is suspected of committing a felony or a misdemeanor. Because the determination of whether force was excessive or not is so dependent on the facts, it is critical to speak with an experienced attorney if someone used excessive force on you or a family member.
Some victims who attempt to file excessive force lawsuits run into the concept of immunity. Many states have laws in place that provide immunity to officers who are acting within the scope of their responsibilities. The theory behind these laws is that officers need some form of legal protection to be able to do their jobs without the fear of being sued every time they interact with a member of the public.
However, these statutes do not protect officers when they are acting outside the scope of their responsibilities. Generally speaking, if it is determined that an officer used excessive force during an interaction, then that will also likely mean that they were not acting within the scope of their enumerated duties as a police officer.
Another potential challenge for victims is that governments generally enjoy immunity from lawsuits. This immunity is not absolute, but it is another roadblock that can come up when attempting to file an excessive force lawsuit, given that law enforcement officers are agents of a government agency. Talking to an attorney about the challenges that various types of immunity can present in seeking fair compensation can give you a much better idea of what role, if any, they will play in your case, and an experienced personal injury lawyer will be able to help you determine the best way to strategize around them.
Filing an excessive force lawsuit
Dealing with any form of personal injury is very difficult. This difficulty is compounded when dealing with an injury caused by a police officer who has been sworn to protect the public and who may have some form of immunity complicating things. That being the case, it can be helpful to have some clear-cut steps that will be applicable in the filing of the majority of lawsuits.
1. Contact a Personal injury Lawyer Near You
Perhaps the most important thing you can do in the entirety of your case is to make the initial step to set up a consultation with an experienced personal injury attorney in your area. Speaking with an attorney will help to give you a better idea of what your exact legal standing is, whether you may be entitled to compensation, and how to pursue maximum compensation if you are entitled to it. Even if you do not have a compensable claim, you have nothing to lose by reaching out to our injury attorneys—you don’t pay us anything unless we win your case for you, which means the initial, confidential consultation is 100% free.
2. Research and Investigate
After you have consulted with a lawyer and made the decision to hire them, they can begin the process of gathering all of the information that arguing your case to the other parties involved will require. In the case where a victim was hurt in an incident involving excessive force, this might include researching the laws in your state to know what kind of challenges you might face, analyzing any photos taken at the scene or body-worn camera videos, and speaking with witnesses to the incident. In any personal injury case, but in particular a claim involving excessive force, it is critical to be able to wade through mountains of evidence, and an experienced personal injury attorney near you can assist in this regard.
3. Negotiate a Settlement
This step is critical, as it is often the step where the actual amount, if any, that you stand to receive in damages will be debated amongst the parties. At this stage, it is critical that you have an attorney on your side who has experience handling similar cases so that they can properly value your claim and ensure that you don’t accept an offer that is too low. In addition, it is important to have an attorney who is able to present your arguments in a persuasive manner. This includes highlighting the strong points of the facts of your case, while minimizing any potential weaker points that might exist.
4. Go to Trial
While most cases will end with a settlement offer, this is not always true. In some instances, the parties are unable to reach an agreement about what they think is a fair amount for a settlement, or even whether they think there should be a settlement offer at all. In these circumstances, it may be necessary to go to trial to fight for the compensation that you are entitled to. Managing a trial is a complicated endeavor, and it is critical that you hire an attorney with this experience should your case end up going this direction.
what is my case worth?
In a case involving excessive force, there can often be a lot of intense feelings involved; victims may want to see justice be done for themselves and for their communities. Another important consideration for victims, however, is how much their case could be worth; financial compensation helps victims and their families put their lives back together after a serious setback. While there is no hard and fast rule as to what most cases are worth, the final number will come from the combination of a few types of damages.
Economic damages are the tangible, objectively verifiable sort of damages that an accident victim incurs. This can be things like medical bills, damage to your personal property, and even lost wages from being unable to work at your job due to injury. Economic damages can typically be proved with a relatively high degree of certainty through things like bills or receipts.
Non-economic damages are less tangible than economic damages, but they may play a large role in an excessive force case. Non-economic damages refer to the pain and suffering—whether it be physical, mental, or emotional—that a victim experiences as a result of their injuries; in the case of an officer or someone else using excessive force, the victim could be left with very serious mental and emotional trauma. There is no objective measure to use with this type of damages like there is with economic damages, but generally speaking, the worse a victim’s injuries are, the higher this number might be.
While the first two categories of damages focus on helping the victim get back to the position they were in before the accident, punitive damages instead focus on the wrongdoer. Punitive damages are damages that a wrongdoer pays in some cases where they acted in a purposeful, or particularly reckless manner. They are intended to serve as a form of punishment and also as a warning to other similarly situated parties who might find themselves in the position to act in the same way.
Call zinda law group today at (800) 863-5312 for a 100% free consultation
Dealing with an excessive force incident in any form can be a traumatizing event. This is to say nothing of the bills that might start mounting up for the victim and their family as they deal with pressing medical needs. One of the best ways to relieve this burden from your shoulders is to hire the right attorney.
The excessive force lawyers at the Zinda Law Group have the experience to be able to help you through this difficult time. In addition, you won’t pay us anything until we win your case for you—that’s our No Win, No Fee Guarantee.
Meetings with attorneys are available by appointment only.