You can sue: Cops' legal recourse against assailants and others

When you are wrongfully accused, negligently injured, or maliciously injured, just find a competent tort lawyer willing to pursue civil cases on behalf of cops

Have you ever been maliciously injured in the line of duty? Have you ever been falsely accused of an offense that — if believed by the masses — could potentially turn your world upside down? Have you ever had your food spit on or been refused service just because you are a police officer?

Sadly, for too many of you, the answer to more than one of those questions is “Yes!”

I am about to tell you something no one has probably told you before in your entire police career. You may be a police officer, but you can sue!

Line of Duty Injury
Years ago, I was deliberately hit by a driver with his car while on duty. I apprehended him after a lengthy pursuit and because of the injuries I suffered in the event, I ended up in a cast and on crutches. To this day, I can predict with 100 percent accuracy when it will rain because my right ankle throbs.

The suspect’s insurance representatives initially suggested that they may not be liable for my injuries, because the act was deliberate and they only were liable in the case of accidents. The representative suggested that I be satisfied with the fact that the city would cover all my costs and wages.

The agent was correct. My city did cover 100 percent of my costs and wages while out of work. However, the suggestion that I had no recourse in the matter inspired me to contact my own attorney (who happened to be my brother) and sue on my own behalf. 

Because of this course of action, I eventually received a satisfactory out of court settlement to compensate me for my personal pain.

Impending Frivolous Action
In another case that took place years ago, there was a knock on my door. When I answered, a paper server delivered a folded up document to me. It was just before Christmas, and the server had the audacity to sarcastically say, “Merry Christmas,” as he turned to walk away.

I opened the paper and discovered a young attorney had filed a claim, asking for one million dollars in damages from my employer and me as a result of a righteous arrest I made of the attorney’s client and son.

Days later, the attorney who filed the claim used the one-million dollar claim as a bargaining chip to attempt to convince the District Attorney’s office to drop charges against her clients. The ADA contacted me and said that the attorney made statements during the negotiations indicating that the complaint was merely a ploy to convince the DA to drop the charges against her client. The attorney also slandered me in front of others in this meeting.

The Assistant District Attorney at the time referred me to a statute that allowed for victims of frivolous lawsuits to pursue damages against attorneys who filed them. Aware of the fact that my brother was an attorney, he said that if the claim ultimately turned into an official lawsuit I should consider filing such an action.

I once again contacted my brother/attorney and he assured me that if the ADA would be a witness he could pursue the action on my behalf. The ADA wholeheartedly agreed to back me up in this matter.

The claim never materialized into a lawsuit, because in the first case the arrest was sustained by the court. Secondly, the young defense attorney was told by the ADA that a lawsuit would be filed on my behalf if a frivolous lawsuit was pursued. The ADA added he would be happy to be called as a witness in the matter on my behalf to testify.

The city I worked for stood by me, and not only refused to pay the claim, but also promised in writing to aggressively fight it. No one paid a penny of damages.

Without another word being said to me, the attorney pled her clients out and the claim was dropped.

Get Aggressive in Your Own Defense
Police officers should consider taking civil action on their own behalf in cases where:

1. They are injured in accidents where others are at fault.
2. They are injured by the deliberate actions of others.
3. They are slandered by people making false complaints, when those complaints can be shown to be false by available evidence and recordings.
4. They are refused service, or their food is tampered with because they are police officers.
5. Officers are killed or injured after Political Action groups’/ leaders’ incendiary words incite people to dangerous actions.

Attorneys Will Be On Board
You do not need to have an attorney/brother as I did (but it helps). Just find a competent tort lawyer in your area willing to pursue civil cases on behalf of police officers. You might be shocked to discover there are tort lawyers who would immediately recognize that police officers are a group of citizens that are injured civilly often, but are currently under-reporting.

Remember, when you are wrongfully accused, negligently injured, or maliciously injured, don’t be the guy in the movie yelling, “I’m mad as hell and I’m not going to take it anymore.”

Instead be civil — sue them!

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