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When police use force against a person that may be excessive the opportunity for a civil lawsuit may exist

Brian L. Polinske
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Edwardsville Criminal Defense Trial Lawyer

You hear stories each week about an officer who shoots and kills or chokes a person to death without any apparent reason.  High speed police pursuits that kill innocent bystanders or repeat TASING that kills a subject.  Whatever the force used by the officer if it is excessive a civil lawsuit may be filed.  

In Illinois you may pursue such a lawsuit against an officer in either State or Federal court.  In State court the theory is usually Battery.  In Federal Court to Civil Rights Act of 1964 is its premise.  Both options have different statutes of limitations so consult with experienced counsel is mandatory.  If you wait too long to file suit you may forever lose your right to do so.  Also, valuable information that could be used at trial may be forever lost if you wait too long to pursue this type of claim.  

There are various defenses to these types of claims that oftentimes result in a dismissal.  If your case is dismissed you may have to pay the defendant their court costs.  This is a consideration that must be made when deciding if filing a lawsuit is in your best interests.  Again, consultation with experienced counsel is required.

Should you prevail in your lawsuit you will request the jury award damages for lost wages, pain and suffering, emotional distress, medical bills and permanent injuries.  Legal fees are typically requested pursuant to section 1988.  

The facts of your specific case must be carefully analyzed with an experienced civil rights attorney.  Usually your attorney should obtain all available information via FOIA and any other resource that portrays the events during the incident.  Statements by the officer involved with be located on DVDs of the stop, police narrative reports, internal affairs reports, medical records, and other less common documents.  

If you believe you have been subjected to excessive force and wish to determine whether your facts warrant a lawsuit contact a qualified civil rights attorney.  

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