Even though most police officers are good public servants who do their jobs with courage and conviction, there are some officers who horrendously abuse their authority and the trust we place in them by unnecessarily killing someone. That's not right—and it's illegal. If a law enforcement officer caused the wrongful death of a loved one, you need an experienced wrongful death and civil rights attorney.
Minnesota Wrongful Death Attorney
As a civil rights lawyer, I work in Minnesota and beyond to prosecute wrongful death claims against law enforcement officers. While these cases can be difficult, I have successfully represented families of unlawful police shootings and other excessive force leading to wrongful death. I commit for the long haul and have what it takes to fight for justice in these and other cases involving police misconduct.
What is wrongful death by police officers in Minnesota?
Wrongful death in the context of law enforcement refers to a situation where a person dies as a result of the unlawful or negligent actions of a law enforcement officer. It's a civil action, separate from any criminal proceedings that may also occur.
In Minnesota, like in other states, a wrongful death claim can be brought by the personal representative of the deceased person's estate. If there is no personal representative, the court can appoint one. This representative acts on behalf of the surviving family members who have suffered damages from the death of their loved one.
Here are some key aspects of a wrongful death claim in Minnesota, specifically in the context of law enforcement:
1. Negligence or Misconduct: To prevail in a wrongful death lawsuit, the personal representative must prove that the law enforcement officer's negligence, recklessness, or intentional misconduct caused the person's death. This could include a variety of circumstances, such as excessive use of force, a dangerous or reckless chase, failure to provide necessary medical care, or death while in custody due to unsafe conditions or neglect.
2. Damages: The personal representative must also prove that the surviving family members have suffered damages as a result of the death. Damages can include loss of companionship, emotional distress, loss of future earnings, medical costs, funeral and burial expenses, and in some cases, punitive damages.
3. Statute of Limitations: In Minnesota, a wrongful death claim must be filed within 2 to 6 years of the person's death, depending on the specific claims and circumstances involved in the case. Importantly, there are exceptions that could extend or shorten this timeline, so it's important to consult with an attorney to ensure a claim is filed in a timely manner.
4. Immunity: Government entities, including law enforcement agencies, often have some level of immunity from civil lawsuits. However, this immunity is not absolute. In cases of serious misconduct or where the officer was acting outside the scope of their duties, a lawsuit may still be possible.
An unlawful arrest can lead to both criminal and civil consequences for law enforcement officers, including potential criminal charges, civil liability for damages, and disciplinary action.
It's important to note that wrongful death claims can be complex, particularly when they involve law enforcement. The procedures can be complicated and the legal standards are high. Furthermore, these cases often require an in-depth investigation and expert testimony. As such, anyone considering a wrongful death lawsuit should consult with an attorney who is experienced in both wrongful death litigation and law enforcement issues.