Can you sue for injuries stemming from your DUI arrest? While the conduct leading up to the arrest for a DUI may be the driver's fault, there are still some injuries during arrest for which others are responsible. These sorts of injuries are being alleged by Cassandra Feuerstein after an incident she claims required her to obtain facial reconstructive surgery and the insertion of a titanium plate to replace shattered bones, the Chicago Tribune reports.
Feuerstein was detained for a short period of time after being arrested for drunken driving. What happened, exactly, to result in these injuries, and does she have a claim?
Punishments That Don't Fit the Crime
47-year-old Feuerstein was arrested for a DUI in March and brought in to booking. Officers then searched her inside her jail cell and she was then asked to remove her shoes and bra before being directed out of the cell for more processing.
According to her allegations, video surveillance caught an officer taking Feuerstein by her arm and pushing her into her cell, where her head struck a bench, causing a pool of blood to form on the ground.
A court document alleges, however, according to the Tribune, that Feuerstein "knowingly resisted...in that she pulled away from the officer and placed both her hands on the sides of the cell door all in an attempt to not be placed into the holding cell."
Police Brutality Lawsuits
It is likely that Feuerstein may have a valid case for police brutality arising from her DUI arrest, and here is a brief overview of the law.
The law, under section 1983, protects us from police brutality, which falls under the general category of an officer abusing his powers. Police brutality includes many different kinds of improper police actions, such as excessive force, verbal abuse (using obscene language or slurs, for example), and even failure to intervene with fellow officers who are being abusive.
There are also a number of parties that can be sued for police brutality, depending on the circumstances. These parties can range from the law enforcement officer himself to the city or county government -- police departments cannot usually be sued directly.
Police brutality lawsuits can be difficult and complicated for even the most educated victims. If you've been the victim of possible police brutality, make sure you consult with an experienced attorney who can help you seek out justice.
- Woman sues Skokie Police, alleges cop threw her into concrete bench (Chicago Sun-Times)
- Civil Rights Overview (FindLaw)
- Information for Filing a Civil Rights Complaint under 42 USC Sections 1983 and 1985 (FindLaw)
- Police brutality concerns (FindLaw's KnowledgeBase)