Pursuing a Legal Claim for Police Misconduct

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Police officers have a tremendous amount of power under the law to protect us. Unfortunately, sometimes there are police officers who abuse this power. Being a victim of police misconduct can be a frightening experience. If you have been injured by a police officer or other law enforcement agent who acted wrongfully, it is important to stand up for your rights.

Bringing a Section 1983 Action

Everyone in the United States is afforded protections under federal law from having their civil rights violated. Under 42 U.S.C. Section 1983, a person who has been injured by a law enforcement officer who abused their power may be able to commence a legal action. Depending on the facts and circumstances, these kinds of cases may be brought in state or federal court. There may also be separate state law claims related to the action that can be made in addition to a Section 1983 claim. 

To be successful in a Section 1983 claim against a police officer, the plaintiff in the action must be able to show that (1) the officer deprived them of their rights under the Constitution and (2) they were harmed by the deprivation. Similarly, if you are asserting a claim under state law, you will be required to show that the police wrongfully breached their duty to protect you, and their actions caused your injuries.

What Kinds of Claims are Actionable?

Police officers face dangerous situations daily. However, they must follow certain procedures and protocol. If they acted unreasonably under the circumstances, you may be able to recover damages incurred for injuries caused by their actions. Common types of actionable legal claims made against police and law enforcement officers may include:

  • Excessive Force
  • Assault
  • False Arrest
  • False Imprisonment
  • 4th Amendment Violations: Illegal Search and Seizure
  • Discriminatory Actions
  • Wrongful Death
  • Malicious Prosecution
  • Failure to Intervene

Legal Remedies

Being a victim of police misconduct can result in serious and long-lasting physical and emotional injuries. If you have been injured as a result of police misconduct, you may be entitled to recover monetary damages. 

Compensatory damages may be awarded to restore you to the financial position you were in before you were injured. This category of damages may compensate you for unreimbursed medical expenses; lost wages; emotional distress; pain and suffering; loss of consortium; loss of enjoyment of life; as well as physical and emotional impairments.

If you can show that the police officer acted with malice, ill intent, and recklessly disregarded your rights, you may be able to recover punitive damages. The purpose of these types of damages is to punish the defendant and deter others from acting in such a way in the future.

In some cases, if the conduct of the police is ongoing, you may be entitled to injunctive relief. An injunction requires someone to refrain from doing something or acting in some way. For example, an ongoing and wrongful search and seizure issue might require injunctive relief.    

Filing a Notice of Claim

There are strict statutes of limitation in place to file a claim for police misconduct. Importantly, you only have 90 days from the date of the incident to file a notice of claim against the City of New York, if a state action is contemplated. A notice of claim must be filed in order to bring a lawsuit. Failure to file a notice of claim within the statutory time frame may result in your case being dismissed.  

Contact a Personal Injury Attorney

It is important to contact a personal injury attorney immediately following an incident involving an injury caused by New York police misconduct. A personal injury attorney experienced in handling civil rights violations can advise you of your legal rights and remedies and help obtain you the compensation you deserve for your injuries. 

Scott Baron & Associates, P.C. has been helping victims of police misconduct obtain the maximum compensation they are entitled to under the law for nearly three decades. With offices located in Howard Beach, Queens and Yonkers, Scott Baron & Associates represents clients in personal injury actions throughout New York City and the surrounding areas. Call today to schedule a consultation. 

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