The police in Tennessee are entrusted with great authority. This power is meant to help protect citizens and control criminal acts in the state. However, police officers sometimes go too far and end up with an injured person. In other cases, the accidents occur unintentionally when the police are in the line of duty. However, who is going to pay for medical expenses and lost wages?
Since the police themselves are not above the law, it is possible to sue them. Even with the difficulties that characterize such cases, it is not impossible to have a successful lawsuit against the police. The personal injury lawyers at Denton & Zachary, PLLC understand such cases’ complexities and will pursue them with a keen eye.
Most personal injury lawsuits against the police will fall under police misconduct. Police misconduct is when a law enforcement officer’s actions violate your conditional rights. One example of police misconduct is police brutality.
Who Can I Sue if a Police Officer Caused My Injury?
Of course, we all know we should call the city police, state police or sheriff if we are involved in an accident involving someone else. However, what do you do if a police officer caused the accident?
It is possible to sue the individual police officers involved, their supervisors, and the government. If the case involves police misconduct, it’s highly likely you will sue the individual officer. Suing the police officer’s supervisor is only possible if they were directly involved in the case. Generally, a court will not assign liability to a supervisor due to the actions of someone they’ve hired.
Personal injury claims that involve a government entity are petitioned under the Tennessee Government Tort Liability Act. Your case will likely be heard as a bench trial and not one that involves a jury.
When Can I Sue the Police?
You could sue a police officer for police misconduct if unnecessary force was used on you, causing serious injuries. You can also sue the police if there was an abuse of authority that resulted in police brutality.
Suing the Police for Emotional Distress
It is possible to sue the police for causing emotional distress if they intentionally or recklessly inflicted the emotional injury or acted negligently. However, if the officer was acting within his scope of work, then that becomes his immunity.
What Damages Can I Get Compensation for After My Accident Involving the Police?
Lawsuits against the police that are easy to prove include excessive force, negligence, and intent. If your claim is successful, you could be compensated for economic losses such as medical bills, lost wages, and future earnings loss.
You may also receive compensation for non-economic losses such as pain and suffering, grief over the loss of a loved one, humiliation, embarrassment, and loss of enjoyment of life. Although rare, you may also receive punitive damages, which are used as a form of punishment to the defendant. They are used as a way of discouraging such behavior among other police officers.
How Much Can I Expect?
If your personal injury lawsuit is against a government entity, how much money you collect is capped at $300,000. This amount is capped at $700,000 if it involves a city or county employee and $1,000,000 if it involves a state employee.
Do the Police Enjoy Immunity?
Government entities like a city or municipality enjoy “sovereign immunity” in personal injury claims. This immunity protects their employees against legal actions when accused of negligence while performing their work-related duties. Because of such protections granted to the police, you need a knowledgeable and skilled personal injury lawyer in Tennessee to guide you.
What If I Was Injured by a Police Officer’s Dog?
In a personal injury accident involving a police dog, you can sue more than one person, depending on the circumstances. An officer could be held liable if their negligence resulted in a dog attack that was not warranted.
The responsible police officer may try to use the qualified immunity to defend themselves if such an incident occurs. However, there are several instances, like in the case of a police dog bite, where the courts discarded this immunity, and the injury victim was able to receive compensation.
What Is the Statute of Limitation for a Claim Against the Police?
Filing a lawsuit against a police officer should be done within one year from the accident date. If you file past this time, your claim may be rendered invalid. Speak to a Cordova personal injury lawyer as soon as possible to begin your lawsuit process.
Consult a Skilled Personal Injury Lawyer in Tennessee
Winning a personal injury lawsuit against the police can be difficult because they often involve serious issues that touch on civil rights. While police misconduct cases and car accidents involving the police are common, they are not always easy to pursue because of the police’s immunity.
Most judges are often reluctant to second guess a police officer’s actions, even in situations that resulted in a person’s death. However, this does not mean it’s impossible to get compensated for your injuries if you work with a personal injury attorney in Arkansas or Tennessee.
Suppose you believe the police violated your civil rights and their actions are beyond government immunity protection. In that case, it is time to speak with a Cordova personal injury attorney who understands PI cases’ complexities involving government entities. Call us on (501) 725-8099 if you are in Arkansas or Tennessee to get immediate legal help.