The first question many will ask is, "Do I have a claim?" However, it is not always an easy question to answer. Only a skilled civil rights attorney who specializes in police misconduct can accurately assess the strength of a potential claim. This guide is intended as a preliminary tool to help persons who have had their rights violated understand the issues surrounding their case and find the right attorney to bring a claim for them.
Should I contact internal affairs?
No! Do not contact anyone without first speaking to an attorney, any statements you make to internal affairs can be used against you later. Only your attorney should contact internal affairs.
Do I have witnesses or proof of what happened?
You will need to prove your claim to be successful in civil court. The way to do this is through video, witnesses to the incident, and pictures of any damage or injuries. Get peoples names, see if anyone recorded the incident on their phone and take pictures of your injuries. The afore mentioned steps are best taken by your attorney's investigator, however, the victim of police brutality should take pictures of their injuries, preserve any evidence such as torn clothing, and get to the doctor if they are hurt!
What about my criminal case?
Often, persons assaulted by police are charged with a crime. Sometimes, baseless or trumped-up charges are brought to cover up what really took place and protect the police officers involved. Whatever the case may be, an attorney with both criminal and civil experience should be hired to handle both the criminal and civil matters.
How much is my case worth?
It is possible to estimate how much a case is worth, however, a substantial amount of investigation must be done first. A potential claimant should be weary of an attorney who promises big numbers right from the beginning without doing any investigation. Frequently, injured persons will need to undergo extensive medical treatment before any damage estimates can be made. A good attorney will tell a claimant the relative strengths or weaknesses of a case but will hesitate to give numbers until the case has reasonably progressed.
How do I find an attorney?
Getting a lawyer is the first thing you should do. Starting off with the right attorney can make things a lot easier and prevent disaster. If you are reading this guide, you are internet savvy and have the ability to do some research. Look for an attorney with a proven track record in this highly specialized area of law. Ask about cases the attorney has handled previously and about verdicts they have obtained. I wish you the best of luck and I am happy to discuss your case. For a free consultation, please feel free to call me at 215.545.3940 or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. Thank you and good luck!