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  • Lawsuits?

    I'm just curious as to how common it is for LEO's to be sued for acting in ways that correspond with their line of work, i.e. if you throw someone down because they were resisting, and they get hurt, can they sue you? Or if you're responding to an incident and you are involved in a wreck, can you be sued? How likely is it that you would not be held responsible if you were acting in accordance with procedures?
    Started POST Sept. 6, 2005

  • #2
    Law suits

    There is an old saying among cops: "You ain't lived till you've been sued". LE agencies.officers are sued each day for a variety of reasons. Some of the complaints have merit, others don't. Agencies are sued because they have the "deeper pockets", and may elect to settle, rather than take the suit to trial. Attorneys who take these cases, do so on what's called a contingency basis. In other words, they don't get paid unless a settlement is made, or in the case of a trial, damages are awarded by a jury. A governmental entity which has a "history" of settling suits, rather than litigating them, may end up being sued more often than an entity which fights the majority of claims made against it. That's not written in stone though. There are many aspects to your question, but in summary, you police long enough, you'll probably be sued at some point.


    • #3
      If someone is resisting arrest and they get hurt, yes you can be sued. If they get killed, count on a law suit. If you have a wreck responding to a call, count on a suit.

      If you were acting with policy and procedure, you can still be sued. Whether or not you are held personally liable is for the court to decide, but usually if you are acting within your scope of employment you will not be held personally liable.

      I've been a party to three or four suits brought against the city. A couple were for wrecks, which the city settled. The other couple were for alleged civil rights violations. One the federal judge threw out with prejudice and the other never went anywhere.

      You can be sued for anything at anytime. All it takes is the filing fee.
      Last edited by Evnings; 08-30-2005, 03:10 PM.
      RADAR is the 8th wonder of the world.


      • #4
        However, an interesting point to add:

        It is difficult to win a lawsuit against a police officer. They have to show that you acted outside of your agency policy with GROSS or WILLFUL negligence. The other way to win is if you intentionally and maliciously violate someone's civil rights.

        If you do this job with good intentions, like your training told you to, and within your agency's policy, you will be ok in the lawsuit.
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