Want to Sue Law Enforcement? What You Need to Know First

If you believe your Constitutional rights have been violated or other wrongdoing by law enforcement has been perpetrated against you, you may need to speak to a personal injury lawyer. You can sue law enforcement but you should note the facts below before you proceed.

It's a Process

For car accident cases, victims can file a lawsuit immediately after the accident occurs simply by visiting a personal injury lawyer. For those contemplating a suit against law enforcement, there are a few more steps to take. Since many government entities are protected by some civil actions through immunity, most lawsuits against law enforcement have to move through a series of administrative channels before taking action. The process varies depending on whether you are trying to sue a single police officer or the entire organization. Speak to an attorney and be guided toward the proper channels.

There Is Immunity for Some Organizations

In some cases, your efforts to sue can be stymied by governmental immunity. Not all actions or all organizations have immunity, however. For example, if you do file suit it is very likely to be a suit against an individual member of the police force for misconduct. If you want to sue the entire city or the entire police force, however, you may encounter immunity for certain types of alleged harm done.

List Forms of Harm Done

To have a case, victims must show that they've been harmed in specific ways from the actions of law enforcement. It does not have to be physical harm, however. It's safe to say that many lawsuits against law enforcement center around some aspect of misconduct by a single or a small group of law enforcement personnel. Police misconduct can involve a wide range of behaviors, such as:

  • Brutality
  • False evidence use
  • False arrest
  • Perjury
  • False imprisonment
  • Racial discrimination (profiling)
  • Corruption

Clarify Excessive Force Allegations

This serious form of harm can involve great physical injury and even death and are among the most difficult to prove. The victim has to show that the level of force used exceeded what was necessary. There is no legal definition of excessive force, so the exact circumstances of the incident are examined to determine if they could perform their job with far less force than was used. A physical injury must be present.

Document Fourth Amendment Violations

Everyone is protected against unreasonable searches and seizures by the Constitution. If the victim can show that no reasonable cause existed, everything after the search may also be actionable. For example, if false information was used to prompt a search warrant, false imprisonment, and false arrest allegations will join the rights violations.

You may be entitled to monetary compensation if you can prove misconduct. Speak to a personal injury law firms like Adams Jordan & Herrington PC to find out more.