No one wants to be arrested, indicted, or accused of a crime they didn’t commit. Being forced against your will while being innocent can be a painful experience that ultimately leaves you feeling violated and helpless. Because of crimes committed by certain individuals against the innocent, the law provides a remedy in the form of a wrongful arrest lawsuit against the prosecutor, police, judge, the state, and government misconduct overall.
If you have been falsely arrested and are pursuing compensation, you might be wondering how much your lawsuit is really worth. Well, the answer is not simple, as it depends on several factors that we will explore here.
How Much Can a Wrongful Arrest Settle for?
Every wrongful arrest case is unique, and settlement amounts can vary drastically depending on the case. Put simply, there is no way that anyone can determine an average settlement amount due to the complexity involved in false arrest claims.
Generally, the compensation will depend on the length of time you were unlawfully detained. Typically, you could receive S1,000 per hour for every hour that you were wrongfully held against your will. However, this amount can quickly add up and can potentially be larger if there is concrete evidence that your rights were violated due to malicious intent by law enforcement or other authorities.
Factors that Determine a False Arrest Settlement Payout
Let’s take a further look into what determines a false arrest settlement payout so you can have an idea of what to expect.
1. Compensatory Damages
The main type of damages available in a false arrest lawsuit is compensatory damages. These are intended to compensate you for the losses you suffered as a result of being falsely arrested. They can include things like lost wages, medical expenses, and damage to your reputation.
For example, if you were severely injured during the arrest, you may be able to recover additional damages for your pain and suffering.
2. Punitive Damages
In some cases, you may also be able to recover punitive damages. Punitive damages help punish the person or entity that wrongfully arrested you and deter others from engaging in similar conduct. Punitive damages are not for every case, as they require a showing of intentional or reckless misconduct.
For instance, if you can prove that the police officers who arrested you acted with malice or bad faith, you’ll have a high chance of recovering punitive damages.
3. Settlement vs. Trial
Settling the case or going to trial can also make a difference in how much you can get. In general, settlements tend to be lower than trial verdicts, as the plaintiff and defendant can negotiate a mutually acceptable resolution without going to court. However, if you have a strong and clear lawsuit against them, you may be able to recover more money in a trial verdict than if you settled the case.
4. Attorney Fees and Costs
There are also fees and costs to consider that are associated with a wrongful arrest lawsuit. Depending on the attorney you hire, you may have to pay an hourly rate or a contingent fee (a percentage of the damages you recover when your settlement pays out). Additionally, you may have to pay for court expenses, witness fees, and other costs associated with the trial. These costs can add up quickly, so it’s best to hire a civil rights attorney under a contingency agreement before you pursue a lawsuit. This allows you to not pay anything out of pocket until you win the case.
The amount of a wrongful arrest settlement is determined on a case-by-case basis, of course, taking into consideration all relevant facts and evidence presented during litigation. Factors such as negligence by law enforcement officers, malicious intent, and physical injuries caused by an arrest are usually taken into account when calculating a settlement.
For instance, the damages for catastrophic injury suffered as a result of being unlawfully detained may be sought in addition to much more serious monetary damages. Cases involving police brutality or civil rights violations may result in higher settlements as well due to the severe nature of these offenses.
Ultimately, false arrest settlements can range from thousands to millions of dollars, depending on the extent of pain experienced by the victim, specifically in cases of police brutality.