Omaha, NE – When someone becomes the victim of a false arrest, police violence, and other forms of misconduct in Nebraska, they may want to sue the officer responsible. Police officers can be sued for actions taken in their official government capacity that violate a person’s civil rights. However, the city or police department that employs the officer will be attached as a defendant as well and they will end up answering the lawsuit and paying out damages if the victim is successful.

Agency principles

There are general agency principles that make an employer responsible for the actions of their employees while they are engaged in their standard job duties. For this reason, when a victim of police brutality wants to sue an officer, the department or municipality answers the complaint filed in civil court. Employers are also much more likely to have the financial means or insurance that covers various wrongful acts committed by their employees that may result in lawsuits. 

Civil rights laws

There are a number of different civil rights laws that say a government employee cannot use their authority and position to illegally deprive a citizen of their rights. While these laws technically cover a broad range of government positions, they have mostly been used against police officers and departments after incidents involving police brutality, planted evidence, wrongful deaths, and illegal arrests. 

Remedies and damages available to victims

In civil cases, the main reason to file a lawsuit is to receive monetary compensation. If the officer engaged in violent or illegal conduct, they may also be charged criminally by a local prosecutor. However, the victim has little to no control over whether the officer will actually be charged or not, or the outcome of those cases. The civil lawsuit can be filed without concurrent criminal charges, or even if those charges are later dropped or dismissed. 

Damages for various kinds of losses tend to coincide with proof of injury by the victim. For example, if someone needs to be hospitalized and misses time from work after a police beating, the department may end up paying for the victim’s medical costs, lost wages, and any psychological trauma caused by the incident. The police brutality cases that award the largest amount of damages tend to be those that cause severe harm to the victim, and where there is clear evidence of the officer’s guilt such as a video recording. 

Specific advice from a local attorney is a directory that contains listings of police brutality lawyers in Omaha, Nebraska and other cities and states throughout the country. Anyone who needs legal assistance can choose their location and the practice area most relevant to their lawsuit to find a local attorney.