While lawyers and judges are the ultimate legal experts, of course, I believe that every citizen should take the time to learn a little about law for several reasons. First, it is important to know your rights, and knowing them can come in handy if anyone ever accuses you of a crime you didn't commit or threatens you legally in another other way. Second, learning about your local, state, and federal laws can help you act as a better citizen. When election time comes around, you can then truly understand ever change in law being proposed by a candidate and whether it benefits society or not. I plan to share posts about law topics explained in plain English on my new blog, so you can come back often to sharpen your legal knowledge!
Law enforcement professionals must use their skills and training to safely pursue, capture and transport people accused of committing a crime. Due to the highly volatile nature of these interactions, when something goes wrong in the process, the person in custody could end up with severe injuries leading to their death. When someone dies in police custody, or because of police actions, the surviving family members can file a wrongful death suit to receive compensation for the loss. Lawyers preparing the case often see one of the following factors as the main contributory event leading to the death. Read on for more information.
Excessive Bodily Trauma
Police officers can use reasonable force to handcuff a suspect and load him or her into the awaiting transport vehicle. If the suspect fights back, police officers can use their body, baton or taser to immobilize the assailant.
The reasonable designation goes out the door when the officer does not stop the assault upon gaining control of the suspect. If the trauma results in serious injury or death, the officer may even need to respond to criminal charges if the department head determines the use of force was excessive. Lawyers can use the final ruling of the criminal trial to quickly prove that the police department owes compensation to the family for their unjustified loss.
Improper Restraint Use
Police officers receive training on how and when to use restraints to subdue suspects. The restraints often include handcuffs and leg shackles if the suspect is a flight risk. Suspects displaying a mental breakdown or violent tendencies may also be restrained on a stretcher for protection of all involved parties.
Police officers must immediately respond to signs of physical distress to prevent injury or death from the restraints. Furthermore, police must position the detainee correctly and provide observation to prevent improper positioning. If detained individuals are placed on their side or abdomen, it's possible to die from suffocation while restrained at the arms and legs. If police officers impropery use the restraints or do not respond to distress in a timely manner, resulting in the death of the detainee, lawyers will help the family pursue a wrongful death case against the entire department.
Extreme Pursuit Speeds
Law enforcement officers must consider public safety while in pursuit of suspects piloting vehicles at high speeds. Law enforcement officials often work in tandem with a pursuit helicopter to use controlled speeds on the ground without losing the suspect.
Pursuing a suspect at a high rate of speed could lead to a deadly collision with an innocent party. If this happens, an internal investigation is performed to determine if the officers were acting negligently. The department head will determine if the officers acted in good faith and followed all given policies. If the investigation identified the officer as negligent, lawyers can pursue a wrongful death case against the suspect leading the chase and the police officers following behind.
Obtaining Compensation For Wrongful Deaths
When it comes to wrongful death suits involving law enforcement, it can be difficult for lawyers to build a solid case without ample evidence proving all claims against the officers. Lawyers must provide witness statements and evidence showing that the police officer was not facing dire threat of severe injury or loss of life during the actions leading to the suspect's death.
If the judge or jury feels the officer's actions were justified, it's not likely that the family will receive compensation for the untimely death. While preparing a wrongful death suit, lawyers will work hard to find eyewitnesses, photographs and videos showing, without a doubt, that the officer's actions were unwarranted and out of line. Lawyers can also use internal investigation documents and criminal charge rulings against the officers while proving the claims made for the wrongful death case. For more information, contact a local law firm like Law Offices of Anthony L Coviello LLC.