Were you or a loved one a victim of police brutality or civil rights violations in West Palm Beach, FL? Law enforcement officers must follow the rules. When they use excessive force, victims can seek compensation for medical bills, lost wages, pain, suffering, and more.
An experienced West Palm Beach civil rights/police brutality lawyer at Hollander Law Firm Accident Injury Lawyers can help you fight for justice. We’ve used our 28 years of experience to help victims recover tens of millions of dollars in settlements and verdicts.
Table of Contents
Why Should I Hire Hollander Law Firm Accident Injury Lawyers To Fight for Justice if I Was a Victim of Police Brutality in West Palm Beach?
Police officers don’t get a free pass to commit acts of abuse. They must follow specific rules and regulations that are designed to prevent abuse of power. Your rights are protected under federal, state, and local laws. You deserve to be treated with dignity and respect–especially by the police officers who are trusted to protect us all.
If your rights were violated, an experienced West Palm Beach personal injury lawyer can help. Since 1996, injured clients in South Florida have trusted Hollander Law Firm Accident Injury Lawyers to protect them. We’ve earned a perfect-10 Avvo rating for our efforts.
Hire us, and you can expect us to:
- Collect all evidence to support your claim
- Determine whether a pattern of misconduct exists
- Assess your case value
- Hire experts to help with the valuation process
- Negotiate fiercely for a fair settlement
- Protect you in state or federal courts if trial is necessary
Standing up to the police can be difficult. Call our West Palm Beach personal injury attorney to get quality legal advice and learn more about this practice area.
How Common Is Police Brutality in the United States?
Across the United States, police departments have paid victims of police brutality over $3.2 billion to settle lawsuits before they can be brought to trial.
Sadly, money can only go so far when it comes to compensating victims. In the first eight months of 2023, police officers in the U.S. killed 672 people. Police killed another 1,244 people in 2022.
In 2022, data shows that police in Florida killed 3.53 people for every 1 million residents. Because the population of Florida is about 22,244,843, that’s more than 78 police killings in a single year.
Residents and visitors in Palm Beach County are not immune to police violence. Police departments in Palm Beach County have recently reached settlement agreements in several police brutality cases. Lawsuits are currently pending against two West Palm Beach police officers who are accused of using excessive force.
Do I Have a Valid West Palm Beach Police Brutality Lawsuit?
Of course, not every person who was injured or killed by police has a valid lawsuit. Police officers are permitted to use a certain degree of force when executing their duties. Whether you have a valid case depends on whether the police used an appropriate amount of force under the circumstances.
Although police are protected by qualified immunity laws, they can be held liable when they use excessive force. As in many other areas of the law, there is no precise definition of the term “excessive force.” What constitutes “reasonable” force will vary depending on the circumstances.
“Excessive force” is often found to exist in cases involving:
- Physical violence, where an officer resorts to punching or kicking a suspect
- Pepper spray or tear gas
- Choke holds
- The unreasonable use of restraints
Police who use excessive force can be held accountable under criminal laws via the criminal justice system. They can also be subject to civil penalties. While the state attorney may impose criminal charges and penalties, the remedy in civil court is financial compensation.
Your case may be brought against the individual police officer or the police department as the officer’s employer.
If you suspect that you have a valid case, speaking with an experienced attorney is the best way to learn about your legal options. Contact our West Palm Beach civil rights/police brutality attorney today to schedule a free case review.
What Do I Have To Prove To Hold Law Enforcement Officials Liable in Police Brutality or Civil Rights Violation Cases?
Both state and federal laws exist to protect individuals from police violence and discrimination.
Many civil rights violation claims are brought under a federal law that prevents police from violating individuals’ civil rights while acting “under color of law.”
To get justice under the federal statute, 42 U.S.C. §1983, you must prove the following:
- The police officer was acting under the color of law
- They deprived you of your civil rights as guaranteed under the state or federal constitution
Law enforcement officials act “under color of law” when they’re executing their legal duties. The law is designed to hold police accountable when they’re exercising their legal authority under state law. The law also applies when police suggest that they have the legal authority to commit certain acts–even when they’re exceeding the scope of their authority.
Our Lawyers in West Palm Beach Handle All Types of Police Brutality and Civil Rights Violation Claims
At Hollander Law Firm Accident Injury Lawyers, we handle all types of police misconduct cases.
These types of cases can involve many different types of police misconduct, including:
- Assault, including continuing to beat a suspect who no longer poses a threat
- Unjustified shooting
- False arrest or unlawful detention
- Verbal abuse
- Racial profiling and racial bias
- Illegal or unreasonable searches and seizures
- Coercing a confession
- Fabricating evidence to make or justify an arrest
- Tampering with evidence
- Planting evidence
- Sexual assault
- Civil rights violations against individuals who are members of protected classes
- Neglecting inmates’ health or rights in jail or prison
- Cruel and unusual punishment
- Allowing police K-9 dogs to bite or attack suspects
Our lawyer is here to help you seek justice regardless of the facts. Call our law firm in West Palm Beach to learn more about your legal rights and options today.
What Is My West Palm Beach Civil Rights Claim Worth?
As in any personal injury case, your case value will depend on the unique circumstances–including the severity and type of injuries you have suffered.
The factors that will be highly relevant when your lawyer is calculating your case value include:
- Whether you are expected to make a full medical recovery or suffer long-term damage
- The nature of the police officer’s actions
- The cost of your medical treatment
- How the injury impacts your earnings and future earning potential
- Your emotional and physical suffering
- Damage to your quality of life
- The circumstances and strength of the evidence in your case
Schedule a free case evaluation today to learn more about the potential value of your claim.
What Types of Damages Are Available to Victims of Police Brutality in West Palm Beach?
Under federal civil rights laws and Florida personal injury laws, you can seek financial compensation for your losses.
- Past and future medical expenses
- Lost wages
- Reduced earning potential
- Property damage
- Pain and suffering
- Emotional distress
- Diminished quality of life
- Physical disfigurement and scarring
- Loss of consortium
- Punitive damages to punish a law enforcement official for intentional misconduct
You may also be entitled to seek an injunction under federal law. The applicable statute, 4 U.S. Code §12601, allows victims of police brutality to take steps to force a police department to change its policies and practices to prevent future acts of injustice.
Unjustified Police Violence and Discrimination Can Cause Severe Injuries and Long-Term Damage
Police brutality can leave a victim struggling with severe physical injuries, including:
- Bruising and disfigurement
- Broken bones
- Puncture and stab wounds
- Internal injuries
- Gunshot wounds
- Soft tissue damage
- Traumatic brain injuries
- Spinal cord injuries
- Head and neck injuries
- Back injuries
- Organ damage
- Wrongful death of a loved one
It’s also important to consider the emotional impact of civil rights violations and violence. Victims often struggle with fear, PTSD, and other mental health issues long after their physical injuries have healed.
You Only Have a Limited Amount of Time To File a Lawsuit if You Were a Victim of Police Misconduct in Florida
Under Florida state law, you have two years to file a personal injury lawsuit for compensation.
The statute of limitations in federal civil rights cases is based on the state’s specific deadline. So, you’ll also have two years to file a claim for civil rights violations under federal law.
There may be exceptions in limited cases. It is best to contact an experienced lawyer to help you confirm the applicable deadline for your case.
Contact a West Palm Beach Civil Rights/Police Brutality Lawyer for a Free Consultation Today
If you were a victim of police violence, contact our law offices at Hollander Law Firm Accident Injury Lawyers or call (561)-556-7873 today. With an experienced West Palm Beach civil rights/police brutality lawyer by your side, you’re much more likely to recover the full compensation you deserve.