The police officer who was supposed to keep your loved one safe was the one who caused your loved one’s death. As you mourn, you are left with many questions about how this could have happened and what you should do next.
Our experienced police brutality lawyers want you to have all of the answers that you need to make informed decisions during this very difficult time. Below, we answer five common questions about police brutality deaths in Iowa, but we recognize that you likely have unique questions about your own situation and we would be happy to answer them in a free consultation.
When Can Police Use Deadly Force?
Police officers have the right to use reasonable and necessary force to protect themselves and the public from harm. The force that they use must be proportionate to the risk of harm they face.
The standard of reasonable and necessary force is subjective, and all of the circumstances must be considered. For example, a police officer’s use of deadly force may be justified if the officer is threatened with a deadly weapon or if the officer has reasonable cause to believe that there is an imminent risk of serious harm or death to someone else. In other situations, the use of deadly force may not be justified.
What Is a Wrongful Death?
Wrongful death is a legal term that is used to define a death that is caused by someone else’s negligence. In a police brutality case, a wrongful death is one that is caused by a police officer’s wrongful use of deadly force. In order to recover damages, you will need to prove that:
- The police officer owed you a duty of care. Police officers owe members of the public a duty of care, so this element should be easily established.
- The police officer breached the duty of care by failing to act as a reasonable police officer would in a similar situation. This is where the details of what happened will be relevant. If a police officer did not use reasonable force given the situation, then the officer may have breached the duty of care to your loved one.
- The police officer’s breach of the duty of care caused your loved one’s death. You will need to prove that your loved one would not have died but for the police officer’s use of excessive force.
Additionally, you will need to prove that Iowa law allows you to recover damages for your loved one’s death.
Who Can Pursue a Wrongful Death Case?
In Iowa, the right to bring a wrongful death lawsuit belongs to the estate of the person who died. More specifically, the case may be brought by the personal representative of the estate. Iowa law then allows specific relatives such as the spouse, children, and parents to recover damages in a wrongful death lawsuit.
Why Should I File a Police Brutality Wrongful Death Case?
Deciding whether to file a police brutality wrongful death lawsuit is a personal decision. Many of our clients choose to pursue a claim because they want to:
- See justice done
- Deter other police officers from using excessive force in the future
- Recover damages for the lost income, funeral costs, medical costs, out-of-pocket expenses, and emotional pain that has resulted from their loved one’s death
How Do I Pursue a Wrongful Death Case?
The first step in filing a police brutality wrongful death case is to contact an experienced attorney. It can be challenging to win a case against a police officer, but it is possible to do so. Our lawyers have experience both with police brutality claims and wrongful death cases.
If you have additional questions that need answers or if you would like to talk about what to do after a police brutality wrongful death in Iowa, please contact our experienced police brutality lawyers today for a free and confidential consultation. You can reach us any time by text, phone, or through this website.