A bad encounter with a Florida police officer may not only result in an individual feeling uneasy and distraught, but it may also have them questioning whether there is anything they can do to hold the officer accountable for the manner in which they were treated. Can they file a complaint or lawsuit? Will they have to jump through hurdles to get their lawsuit filed?
While filing a lawsuit against a Florida police officer is a bit more complicated than filing a complaint, it isn’t impossible to do. In fact, much of the process can be handled by an experienced Florida police brutality lawyer should a victim choose to retain one.
What makes filing a lawsuit against a Florida police officer or their department challenging?
Florida police officers, like all law enforcement officers, are given a substantial amount of power and authority. When an individual accuses them of mistreating them or violating their rights, it can often be hard to convince the court of this. In addition to being able to show that an officer, someone who is supposed to protect and serve their community, overstepped their authority, there are special rules that must be followed before a lawsuit can be filed.
For starters, if an individual decides they want to sue a police officer, their lawsuit may actually need to be directed at the department in which they work for. Many employers, including police agencies, are often liable for their employees’ actions. And before a police department can be sued, an individual must provide the agency with a notice of claim before they can start the civil lawsuit process.1 Failure to follow this rule could result in an individual losing their right to pursue civil action.
Does an individual need to hire a Florida police brutality attorney in order to sue an officer?
Although victims of police brutality don’t necessarily need to retain a lawyer if they want to sue an officer or their department, it can certainly help them and their case when they choose to do so. And here’s why.
Police brutality lawyers serve many purposes in addition to helping protect the rights of their clients. Some of the things a police brutality lawyer can do for an individual who was harmed or harassed by a Florida cop include:
- Identify the behavior/actions an officer displayed that are considered unethical or unlawful.
- Help a victim write up their notice of claim and ensure it conforms to state laws and department policies.
- Help an individual value their damages and initiate the lawsuit process.
- Help the victim prove the officer engaged in unlawful behavior.
How long does an individual have to file a lawsuit against a Florida police officer?
While Florida’s statute of limitations for filing a personal injury lawsuit is generally four years from the date of the incident, the timeframe to file suit against a police officer or a police department may be shorter.
If someone was injured or wrongfully arrested by a Florida police officer and they are wanting to learn more about filing a lawsuit against him/her or their department, USAttorneys.com can help them locate and hire a lawyer in their city, whether that be Miami, Jacksonville, or Tampa.