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Why You Should Hire An Excessive Force Attorney

This content about excessive force attorney was written by a third party and does not represent the views or opinions of Haddad & Sherwin LLP, nor should it be construed as a complete and accurate statement of the law or as legal advice.  For better information about this topic, please contact Haddad & Sherwin LLP.

If you suffered injuries or physical abuse during an arrest by law enforcement officers, you might have been a victim of excessive force and other forms of police misconduct. Fortunately, it’s possible to take legal action to hold officers accountable with the aid of an excessive force attorney – or as more commonly called, a “civil rights attorney.” A qualified professional can help you receive compensation for the following:

  • Medical bills resulting from the treatment of injuries
  • Lost income due to inability to work
  • Future expenses if you cannot return to work due to injuries
  • Your pain and suffering
  • Your present and future disability
  • Your emotional distress and outrage

According to a report from the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights about police use of force, evidence reflects on the high rates of excessive use of force nationwide, and increased probability of law enforcement use of force against people with disabilities, the mentally ill, people of color, the LGBT community, people with low income, and people at the intersection of these categories.

What is excessive force?

Excessive force is a type of police brutality and police misconduct; it refers to the unlawful force used by police officers resulting in injuries, whether physical or psychological, to the victim and, in some cases, death.

Although police officers are allowed to use reasonable physical force as a way of self-defense, in defense of others, or to address certain types of resistance, they sometimes cross the line. Each law enforcement agency has policies and guidelines as to the appropriate amount of force that can be used to avoid this type of behavior. More importantly, the United States Constitution, as interpreted through the courts, sets clear limits on police officers’ use of force.

Excessive force is force that is objectively unreasonable under the circumstances. It is also force that a reasonable officer would understand was unnecessary.

Excessive force claims

In civil lawsuits, it is usually the plaintiff who has the burden of proof. Therefore, to prove excessive force, the most crucial element is providing evidence that supports your claim. That is why it is vital to ensure that any valuable evidence is kept in some way.

It’s recommended that you take photographs of any injuries sustained, write down your recollection of the incident as soon as possible to remember important details and to provide to your civil rights attorney later, and keep any clothing or objects that were stained with blood during the incident.

It’s also important to note that excessive force cases are handled slightly differently than a typical lawsuit in many states. For example, a new law in California makes it easier for police officers to be sued for the use of improper deadly force.

Before this new law passed, deadly force could be used by law enforcement when it was deemed “reasonable” under the circumstances. But now, it can only be used if it’ is absolutely necessary.

Also, courts can take into account both the officer’s and the victim’s actions that led to the fatal encounter. For this reason, a civil rights attorney in California, for example, may handle a case differently from a colleague in another jurisdiction.

The importance of hiring an excessive force attorney

An excessive force attorney can help you determine if your case is strong enough and will guide you through the intricate administrative procedures and deadlines that these cases usually entail.

Finding an attorney who is familiar with how the laws work in each jurisdiction on issues like immunity and burden of proof is essential to make sure that you are compensated for your pain and suffering. Furthermore, overcoming governmental immunity can be extremely complicated without legal assistance.

If you or somebody near you has been a victim of excessive force by law enforcement, seek the assistance of an accomplished excessive force attorney. It would be best if you relied on nothing less than a skilled professional who can inform you of the applicable law and defend your rights in these challenging cases.

Haddad & Sherwin LLP has a long, successful track record winning wrongful death and other serious civil rights claims for police and jail officer misconduct, throughout Northern and Central California.  Call or email us for a free consultation.

This content about excessive force attorney was written by a third party and does not represent the views or opinions of Haddad & Sherwin LLP, nor should it be construed as a complete and accurate statement of the law or as legal advice.  For better information about this topic, please contact Haddad & Sherwin LLP.