Why do cities and states pay for police brutality claims?

An individual police officer hurt you. It was the excessive force used by that police officer that caused your injury. The entire police force, city, or state was not to blame. However, the police officer who hurt you may not be the one to pay for your injuries. Instead, your recovery may come from the town, city, county, or state that employed the officer.

Is This Fair?

Local and state governments have a duty to hire, train, and supervise law enforcement officials. The municipality’s role includes ensuring that all officers are trained in the use of reasonable force and supervising officers to prevent the use of excessive force. Police departments that fail to train and supervise police officers appropriately may be legally responsible for injuries that result from their failure.

If a municipality is legally responsible for paying your damages, you may have a better chance of recovering financial compensation. Individual officers may not have the financial means to pay for injuries caused by excessive force. However, local and state governments typically can pay for your past and future medical costs, lost income, out-of-pocket expenses, physical pain, emotional suffering, and other damages.

The police department may discipline the officer or fire the officer for what happened, even if the officer doesn’t compensate you for your injuries. Therefore, even if your recovery doesn’t come from the cop who hurt you, that officer may still suffer the consequences of their actions.

Be Prepared for a Case Against the Government

Lawsuits against the government can be complicated because of a concept known as sovereign immunity. However, the United States Constitution and other laws protect you from police brutality.

Police brutality victims have the right to pursue justice, and our experienced Wisconsin police brutality lawyers are here to help you every step of the way. Please contact us today for a free, no-obligation consultation to discuss your rights, how to protect your claim, and what you might be able to recover.


Jason F. Abraham
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Helping car accident and personal injury victims throughout Wisconsin, Illinois and Iowa since 1993.