If we decide to file a lawsuit against the police on behalf of the decedent’s estate, we will usually file on behalf of the personal representative. Under some circumstances, and depending on the jurisdiction, individual family members (such as a spouse, child, or parent) might be individually named in the lawsuit as well. We will begin the lawsuit with a detailed pleading called a “complaint” in which we identify the defendant-officers (and sometimes the county or city for which they work) and in which we set out detailed allegations about what occurred leading up to and surrounding the incident that caused the decedent’s death.
Shortly after the lawsuit is filed and attorneys appear to represent the defendant-officers, we can then engage in a process called “discovery” under the court’s rules. We can then pose certain questions to police officers and others via written “interrogatories,” and we demand documents, recordings, and other information by way of written demands called “requests for production.” We can ask for the officer’s personnel file and training records. We can explore whether there are records indicating that the officer has used too much force in the past. We can demand specific information, such as videos or even seek to inspect physical evidence. And, if the attorneys for the defendant-officer refuses to produce information to which we believe we are entitled, we can request that the court order the information produced.
At Budge & Heipt, we are never afraid to go to trial and present our case to a jury if we believe that course to be the best path. We have gone to trial against state troopers, city police, county sheriff’s deputies and government entities.
We prepare thoroughly before trial so that an honest but persuasive case can be presented to the jury. And we do so in a manner that respects the integrity of the process while advocating to the best of our ability. We believe preparation is key, and we have achieved excellent results. Having won millions of dollars at trial for victims of excessive force, we believe hard work and thorough preparation are essential to success.
If you would like to discuss a case involving excessive force, egregious injury, or wrongful death by police, please contact us for a free consultation.