In the United States – whether you are a citizen or not – the Constitution protects us all from unwarranted invasions and injury by the government, including from police officers and other individual government agents acting in the course of their official duties. The government – and especially police officers – are obligated to treat everyone with respect and dignity, and top Bronx civil rights lawyers can help victims of excessive force, wrongful arrest and other similar abuses of governmental power to recover compensation if their rights have been violated. The dedicated attorneys at the Jesse Minc Law Group offer a strong base of experience and knowledge to victims of civil rights violations throughout New York City. We routinely achieve success for our clients in asserting claims for wrongful arrest, excessive force by police officers, and other infringements on their statutory and constitutional rights, even when these violations do not result in a physical injury.
Civil rights violation lawsuits are complex and are fiercely defended by the government, and so in order to ensure that each client receives the proper amount of attention and resources that their case requires to be successful, we limit the number of cases that we accept into our firm. In addition to our civil rights lawyers, we have a retired N.Y.P.D. detective on staff to investigate your claims and locate witnesses and other evidence for your case. We also maintain a network of experts in numerous specialties – including police procedures – to help us prepare your case properly and present it to a court in a persuasive and compelling manner to give you the best chance of success at trial and on appeal.What Is A “Civil Rights” Personal Injury Claim?
The term “civil rights” refers to the basic liberties that belong to every citizen of the U.S. that have been enshrined in the United States Constitution. The Bill of Rights (the first ten of the amendments to the U.S. Constitution, which was formally added to the Constitution in 1791) outlines many of the core civil rights that all people living in the United States – both citizens and non-citizens, generally - enjoy. State constitutions in New York and around the country include their own bills of rights, or similar provisions, but generally a “Civil Rights” personal injury lawsuit deals with violations of the United States Constitution and the Bill of Rights. Statutes at the state and federal levels also define various civil rights, limit the powers of government agencies and officials, and provide ways for people to assert claims and recover damages when their rights are infringed (whether due to a physical injury, or otherwise). Perhaps the most important tool that top Bronx personal injury lawyers can use to vindicate the constitutional rights of their clients is 42 U.S.C. § 1983, a law that permits a private right of action against government actors who violate an individual’s civil rights, and which allows people to file suit against government officials for civil rights violations in the Federal and State court systems. The expert civil rights attorneys at our Bronx firm are intimately familiar with the nuances of this law and its procedural requirements, and are standing by to teach you how we can use this important law to obtain compensation for you if your rights have been violated.
Civil rights claims primarily deal with actions by the government and people acting on behalf of the government. A police officer who injures a person by using excessive force, for example, has violated that person’s civil rights because they are acting on behalf of the government. A private individual who causes a similar injury might commit assault—in the sense of both criminal and personal injury law—but they would not commit a civil rights violation because they are not an agent of the government. Agents of the government are held to a higher standard, since they represent the state, and their negligent or intentional actions that deprive you of your civil rights under the Constitution may entitle you to recover substantial compensation. Contact our Bronx civil rights attorneys today at (718) 354-8000 for a free consultation if you believe that your rights have been violated.Civil Rights Under the Law and the Constitution
The Bill of Rights consists of the first 10 amendments to the U.S. Constitution, was ratified in 1791 by a vote of 2/3 of the States, and remains the source of most civil rights lawsuits today. Rights provided by three of these amendments are the basis of the vast majority of all civil rights claims in all courts across the country, and our civil rights attorneys can help you determine whether they may apply to your situation. In the context of civil rights lawsuits, the following amendments are usually the most important:
- The First Amendment, wich guarantees freedom of speech, freedom of the press, freedom of assembly, freedom of religion, and other rights generally related to the free expression of ideas.
- The Fourth Amendment prohibits “unreasonable searches and seizures,” requiring police to obtain a warrant before conducting a search or making an arrest. Police can get around the warrant requirement in certain situations, but only if they have probable cause to believe that criminal activity has occurred. Otherwise, they may be liable for false imprisonment or other civil rights violations.
- The Fifth Amendment states that the government cannot deprive a person “of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law.” This right, in addition to the due process rights enshrined in the Fourteenth Amendment, is known as “substantive” due process, and is the source of a person’s right to have a court fairly determine their rights if they are accused of a crime. This important Amendment is also the source of everyone’s right not to be forced to incriminate themselves when questioned by police and prosecutors.
The Fourteenth Amendment, which took effect in 1868, also protects individual civil rights. It includes a Due Process Clause similar to the clause in the Fifth Amendment, which specifically applies to state governments. It also contains the Equal Protection Clause, which prohibits various forms of unlawful discrimination on the basis of factors like race and religion. The Fourteenth Amendment is the source of much civil rights litigation involving excessive force by police officers, false imprisonment, and violations of rights under 42 U.S.C. § 1983.Asserting Civil Rights Claims Against the Government
Civil rights claims often require filing suit against the government if adequate compensation is to be obtained by a victim. The legal doctrine of governmental immunity (also known as “sovereign immunity”) bars certain types of lawsuits against the government or government officials, and is a very complicated concept that only knowledgeable Bronx lawyers such as those at our firm can be trusted to handle correctly. In some lawsuits against certain governmental bodies within the State of New York (for example, against the City of New York), New York law requires a plaintiff to file a notice of claim before filing a lawsuit. However, under 42 U.S.C. § 1983, the doctrine of federal preemption overrides this notice of claim requirement, and an injured person whose rights have been violated may file a civil rights lawsuit against the government without regard for state law notice of claim requirements. The doctrine of qualified immunity protects government officials from being sued as individuals in some situations, meaning that a plaintiff can only sue the government or the government agency that employed that person; however, this is not always the case, and you should always consult with top Bronx personal injury lawyers to determine who – and in what capacity – is responsible for violating your civil rights if you are injured due to the negligence or intentional and harmful conduct of a government official such as a New York City police officer.Contact Our Civil Rights Lawyers in the Bronx Today To Protect Your Rights
The Jesse Minc Law Group’s dedication to providing vigorous, comprehensive legal representation to each of our clients has produced a greater than 95 percent success rate in trials and settlement negotiations among the cases that we accept into our firm. Our clients are always given direct access to the attorneys handling their cases once their case is accepted, and they will never be relegated to communicating with their attorney only through an assistant or secretary when they have important questions or concerns regarding their case. We employ bilingual attorneys who can represent Spanish-speaking clients, as we believe that it is important that our clients feel that they are being understood when discussing their cases. Our practice extends throughout New York City, Long Island, and Westchester County. Your initial consultation is free of charge and completely confidential; and, if we accept your case, you will not have to pay us a single penny in fees or expenses unless we recover money for you. You can contact us today at (718) 354-8000 or through our website to schedule an appointment. Call today, as strict time limits generally apply to cases involving civil rights violations in the Bronx.