Orlando Personal Injury Lawyer
The Francis Law Group
Excessive Use of Deadly Force
The majority of police officers dutifully adhere to the Law Enforcement Oath of Honor: enforcing the law to protect the public. In some cases, officers must use force – and sometimes deadly force – to accomplish this. While it’s an extremely unfortunate situation, the use of deadly force is sometimes necessary for the good of the group.
However, there are occasions when officers step outside of the legal boundaries of their duties and use excessive or unreasonable force for the given situation. When this happens, and the subject dies, as a result, the victim’s family members may have just cause to hold the police department or the officer liable for the loss of a loved one.
These types of wrongful death cases are very complicated and emotionally charged, often exceedingly so because they are highly publicized. If your family is going through a similar situation, make sure to take your case to a wrongful death lawyer for guidance.
What the Law Says about Using Deadly Force
Each state provides its rules regarding deadly force. Florida’s rules that explain when officers are allowed to use deadly force are laid out in Florida Statutes Chapter 776.
Officers may use force in the following situations.
- When the officer reasonably believes to be necessary to defend him/herself or another from bodily harm while making an arrest
- When taking felons who have escaped
- When arresting felons fleeing from justice
Officers are also only allowed to use deadly force when necessary to prevent the arrestee from fleeing; after they’ve given some warning. Either they believe that the arrestee poses a threat of death or serious physical harm to the officer or others or that the arrestee has committed a crime involving serious physical injury to another person.
If the officer uses deadly force outside of these parameters, the deceased’s family can exercise their right to hold the officer or the agency liable for their losses. In fact, the law explicitly states that unless the officer correctly and legally used force, these provisions for police “shall not constitute a defense in any civil action for damages brought for the wrongful use of deadly force.”
Challenges to Filing a Suit against the Police
- Some of the first steps involve the following.
- Notifying the state of your intent to take legal action
- Finding out who is the personal representative of your wrongful death case
- Gathering supportive evidence
Note, the burden of proof will be on you. You’ll need to show that the officer’s actions were outside the scope of their duties. Plus, to recover, you’ll need to be able to demonstrate your financial losses as a result of loving your loved one.
Pursuing Justice for Your Loved One
It can be difficult to go head-to-head with a government entity and pursue justice, but if you win your case, it’ll be worth your effort. Not only will you have a sense of closure and make a public statement that this kind of behavior is unacceptable in the field of law enforcement, but you’ll also receive the monies you need after a family member's death.
In a wrongful death lawsuit, you can recover numerous types of damages, including the following.
- Medical expenses you’re loved one accrued after the event with the officer and prior to death
- Funeral and burial expenses
- Loss of income, benefits, and other contributions your loved one would have provided
- Loss of support, love, and guidance
- The financial value of the services your loved one would have provided
Get the legal help you need for a case involving excessive use of deadly force in Florida; call the Francis Law Group today at 407-363-9939 for a free consultation.