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Wrongful Death & Police Misconduct Lawsuit FAQs

The death of a loved one is a horrible experience, especially as a result of police misconduct or excessive force. When you’re considering a wrongful death lawsuit, you probably have many questions. That’s where Haddad & Sherwin come in.

Haddad & Sherwin has extensive experience in wrongful death lawsuits. We’ve fought cases of wrongful death as a result of police shootings, restraint asphyxia, police tactics and excessive force, jail beatings, jail suicides, and jail medical care. We’re here to answer your frequently asked questions about wrongful death lawsuits, qualified immunity, and more.

What Qualifies As “Wrongful Death” by Police?

A case can be labelled as a “wrongful death” in cases where a person has caused another individual’s death by intentional harm or negligence.

To label a death as wrongful by police, there must be actions that deprived one’s civil rights or negligent behavior by law enforcement that contributed to their death. These actions include:

  • Excessive force or negligence (suffocation, chokeholds, restraint-related asphyxia, etc.)
  • Wrongful shootings
  • Failing to call for medical assistance
  • Inadequate training for police officers

Are Wrongful Death Lawsuits Filed in State or Federal Courts?

Wrongful death by police or police misconduct lawsuits can be filed in federal or state courts. It all depends on the nature of the complaint you are filing. If the officer is shown to have violated the victim’s civil rights, the case is likely to be filed in federal court. If the death is a result of improper training, it is likely that the lawsuit will appear in state court. Haddad & Sherwin LLP will advise you on the best place to pursue the lawsuit based on the situations of the case.

Who Can File Wrongful Death Lawsuits?

The person who can file wrongful death lawsuits changes based on state laws, but generally they can be filed by family, a spouse or romantic partner, or a representative of the victim. The case will be filed against those being held legally liable. In the case of police misconduct/police causing wrongful death, this would mean filing against the specific officers and/or the police department the officers worked in. Something key to remember here is that we will work together to provide as much information and proof as possible, as we hold the burden of proof in American courts.

What Types of Damages Can Be Paid in Wrongful Death Lawsuits?

The amount varies dramatically depending on several components. Haddad & Sherwin LLP has won significant damages for our clients. The pieces that greatly impact the amount awarded include:

  • Details of the case
  • If it goes to trial or is settled out of court
  • Jurisdiction (state versus federal)
  • Local qualified immunity laws

The amount you sue for and are awarded all depends on certain factors as well. Haddad & Sherwin LLP is happy to work through what damages are applicable. You have been through enough already. You shouldn’t have to cover medical bills or other financial worries. We’ll consider the following aspects when determining the amount of damages we are requesting.

  • Medical costs from before the death of your loved one (related to the incident only)
  • Pain, suffering, or mental anguish
  • Funeral and burial costs
  • Loss of companionship
  • Loss of expected income or compensation for full value of goods and services expected from the victim over their lifetime

Again, this can vary dramatically. It all depends on the details of the case, jurisdiction, and local laws around qualified immunity.

What Is “Qualified Immunity” and How Does It Impact Wrongful Death Lawsuits?

“Qualified immunity” is a law/doctrine that shields government officials or law enforcement from being held personally and financially liable for constitutional violations. It only applies as long as the official can prove that they personally did not violate a clearly established law. This idea is at the heart of police reform, something that Haddad & Sherwin LLP champions.

Qualified immunity can impact wrongful death lawsuits, as it is commonly used as a defense from the person being held accountable. Don’t worry- Haddad & Sherwin LLP are highly experienced in fighting this defense. We are here to support you and get the justice your loved one deserves.

How Can an Attorney Help Me?

Attorneys specializing in wrongful death lawsuits can help victims get the justice they deserve. Here at Haddad & Sherwin, we are dedicated to helping you. Our services include investigating the case, settlements and trials, and more. An attorney serves as your partner, your representative in an emotional case. We’re here for you and your loved ones.

Do you need an attorney for a wrongful death lawsuit in Oakland, CA? Haddad & Sherwin LLP handle cases throughout California, including the Bay Area, San Francisco, Oakland, North Coast, Central Coast, Central Valley, and more! Contact us today for a free consultation from experienced, Oakland-based wrongful death attorneys at Haddad & Sherwin LLP.