fbpx

Can You Sue the Police?

ELI5: Negligence

America has nearly 700,000 police officers who risk their lives everyday in order to protect and serve. However, with 700,000 people, mistakes will almost certainly happen. Tragically, these mistakes can have serious consequences: citizens have been seriously injured and some have even lost their lives. Most of America’s police officers are individuals who are trying to do good. However, out of 700,000 employees, we know there may be some bad ones. Americans know from news headlines across the country that there are police officers that seem to have abused their power. This has left many with the question: If a police officer has abused their power, is there anything that can be done?

SO, CAN I SUE THE POLICE? – UTAH WORKPLACE ATTORNEY

Yes, you can sue an individual police officer who has injured you. For personal injury claims, there are four elements that you need to prove in order to have a successful case. To begin with, you need to prove that the person you’re suing was negligent in some way. One way would be to prove that they had a duty of care toward you. Then, you need to prove that the person you’re suing has somehow violated that duty of care. After you prove the duty of care has been violated, you need to prove that the violation has injured you. Finally, you need to prove that there were damages, either economically (such as medical bills for the injuries) or non-economic such as emotional distress. Though it may seem simple, there are a few obstacles that can make suing a police officer difficult.

WHAT IS QUALIFIED IMMUNITY?

Police officers have qualified immunity. Qualified immunity protects police officers, and other government officials, from personal injury suits that may result from the official simply doing their job. Part of a police officer’s job may include using physical force in order to apprehend a person who is presenting a danger to others. And, depending on the circumstances, a police officer may need to use additional force in order to protect the nearby citizens, or themselves. In addition, in Utah, there is a Governmental Immunity Act which places some pretty strict limits on lawsuits against employees of a governmental entity – such as a police department.

HOW DOES QUALIFIED IMMUNITY IMPACT PERSONAL INJURY? – UTAH WORKPLACE ATTORNEY

Qualified immunity has a big impact on personal injury claims involving police officers. This is because qualified immunity protects an officer from being found personally liable when they’re doing their jobs. The only exception to this is when an officer violates a clearly established right. Though it sounds simple, determining whether or not a right is clearly established can be a bit of a gray area. This is because it’s not about whether or not your rights were violated, it’s about whether or not your rights were clearly established. Clearly established means that any reasonable officer would have known that you had these rights and the officer you’re suing violated them. Again, though it sounds simple, many of the rights we take for granted are not clearly established due to the fact that laws change so quickly. Therefore, a judge may rule that you had rights, but since the rights weren’t clearly established, the officer cannot be brought to trial.

CAN THE POLICE SUE ME?

If you physically harm a police officer, they can personally sue you. After all, police officers are human beings, and they have the same rights as other citizens do. So if a civilian shot a police officer, the officer would be able to sue that civilian and have the same opportunity to present a case to prove negligence and damages. But, if the civilian who shot the police officer doesn’t have any assets to pay for the damages they caused, it may be difficult for the officer to obtain compensation.

FIGHTING FOR THE RIGHTS OF EVERYONE – UTAH WORKPLACE ATTORNEY

If you’ve been injured by a government official, you definitely need to consult an experienced personal injury attorney. With qualified immunity, the Governmental Immunity Act, the debate over clearly established rights, and a wide spectrum of circumstances, it can be difficult to determine whether or not you will be able to file a claim against a police officer. On the other hand, if you are a police officer who has been injured while apprehending a dangerous criminal, Moxie Law Group thanks you for your service. At Moxie Law Group, we fight for the rights of the injured. If you have questions about a personal injury claim, call Moxie Law Group today for a free consultation.

Close up of a quarter and a penny.

Five Ways Insurance Companies Avoid Paying Fair Compensation

by | Jan 23, 2024 | Educational | 0 Comments

Before we go any further, it’s important to understand how insurance works. When you pay your insurance premium, you’re paying for financial coverage (up to the policy...

Various coins

What If The Insurance Company Is Offering Me a Fair Settlement?

by | Jan 18, 2024 | blog,Car Accident,car accident attorney Utah | 0 Comments

The Insurance Company’s Job Is to Make Money  When you buy insurance, you pay a fee—called a premium—on a regular basis. You pay a premium in exchange for financial...

Boots with tulips sitting on a snowy landscape

Five Safety Precautions to Take This Spring

by | Jan 16, 2024 | Auto Accidents,blog,Educational | 0 Comments

Now that the holiday season is over, spring is right around the corner. But it isn’t here yet, and there’s always the possibility of eight more weeks of winter, so...

Two people jogging while it's still snowy outside

Safety Tips for Your Morning Jog

by | Jan 11, 2024 | Educational | 0 Comments

If you’ve got the motivation and the determination to go for a jog bright and early, there are surely a lot of people who are jealous of such discipline! However,...

Woman working out at the gym

Premises Liability and the Gym

by | Jan 9, 2024 | blog,Educational,Premises Liability | 0 Comments

If you’re going to the gym, make sure you’re staying safe.  What Is Premises Liability?  Premises liability refers to the liability that property owners have when a...

Man lifting like a lot of weight

Safety Tips for the Gym 

by | Jan 4, 2024 | Educational | 0 Comments

The new year is here, and many people are heading into 2024 with a personal goal to get healthy. Whether that means shedding a few pounds, or getting that resting heart...

Colorful weights you'd find at a gym

Are We About to See More Ozempic Lawsuits?

by | Jan 2, 2024 | Educational | 0 Comments

Ozempic has been creating quite a lot of buzz, including talks of lawsuits. Are we about to see more lawsuits in 2024?  What’s Product Liability?  When Utah personal...

Woman walking down the stairs in front of a state capital

Can You Be Sued if You’re Broke?

by | Dec 15, 2023 | Educational | 0 Comments

Some people believe that only rich people get sued—but is that true?  How Lawsuits Work  Before we answer that, we need to back up a bit. When a personal injury claim...

People in a crowd at a concert hall.

Who Could Be Liable for Concert Injuries?

by | Dec 12, 2023 | Educational | 0 Comments

If you sustain injury at a concert, who could be liable for those injuries?  The Concert Stadium  Property owners, whether they own residential or commercial property,...