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Can You File a Wrongful Death Claim Against the Police?

When a loved one is killed by an on-duty police officer, people wonder whether they can file a wrongful death claim against the police. New York generally allows the deceased’s personal representative to file a claim on their behalf. However, when the police are involved, a wrongful death claim can get complicated.

Deaths resulting from police misconduct

As you might know from cases in the media, excessive force is frequently responsible for police-related deaths. Wrongful death claims aren’t limited to excessive force situations: reckless driving, failing to provide appropriate medical care and false imprisonment can also lead to in-custody deaths. Talking to a personal injury lawyer is the best way to find out whether you have a strong case.

Statute of limitations

The statute of limitations dictates how long a person has to file a lawsuit. New York generally allows up to two years after the person’s death, with some exceptions. Because the police are a government entity, however, New York state law gives plaintiffs one year and 90 days to file a lawsuit.

Additionally, any claim against a police department and most municipalities requires the filing of a notice of claim within 90 days of the incident date with the appropriate authority

Although a year and 90 days might sound like a long time, the statute of limitations can pass quickly. When you suspect that the police are responsible for your loved one’s death, it’s crucial to have their personal representative file suit as soon as possible.

When meeting with an attorney, gather as much information as you can: the date and time of the incident, police report, eyewitness contact information, videos and photos of the incident, whether the deceased relied on medical devices (like an inhaler) or medications and more. Your attorney will review the evidence and explain your legal options. While wrongful death actions against the police can be complicated, a lawyer can help you hold them responsible.

For experienced personal injury and wrongful death assistance, call the skilled personal injury lawyers at Jakubowski, Robertson, Maffei, Goldsmith & Tartaglia, LLP today.