What Is Qualified Immunity and Its Place In Personal Injury?
At Eric Roy Law Firm, we make our clients who work with our personal injury attorney in Las Vegas, NV aware of their ability to file a damage claim against an individual who has wronged them. When our clients have been wronged in such a way that they lose money through lack of work or exorbitant medical bills, a personal injury lawsuit is one way to find justice and balance the wrongs committed against us. Ideally just about anyone from the average citizen to the President of the United States can have a lawsuit made against them to show that no one is above the law. But certain legislations have decided that specific entities deserve a degree of immunity from claims. Police officers are one of those “entities” in which the US justice system believes that police officers deserve a degree of immunity from claims in order for officers to be better able to do their jobs.
This does become a problem though when a person who is perfectly innocent gets injured in a high speed chase after a police officer collides with their vehicle. Given that the officer is the one who made the collision, there is no one else to sue other than them and yet what prevents them from receiving due compensation is what’s called qualified immunity. Just about every state’s laws have shield laws to protect government employees from certain liabilities so this includes not only police officers but also school and city officials as well as private contractors hired by the city. So if a phlebotomist is hired by the city and any injuries arise from the blood draw, they could potentially claim qualified immunity as well.
That said, where does qualified immunity end so an individual can make a claim if they are injured? The one loophole behind qualified immunity is that government officials and representatives can claim qualified immunity as long as they were acting “reasonably” in the course of their job. So if an officer does something that is out of protocol for their position. They can then be found liable for any injuries that arise. This is especially considering that qualified immunity is meant to remove any obstacles to government employees in order to make their jobs easier, but actions taken outside of what their jobs demand and allow aren’t beneficial to one’s ability to perform their job and ultimately reflect poorly on the job itself. If this is the case, you can then file a claim against a government official without issue.