From the Headlines: Police Custody

News sources [LINK:] reported in February 2018 that the state attorney general’s office took up the case of Dwayne Pritchett, a Bronx resident who died after being held in police custody. While the details and the final outcome of the case will be determined by the courts as the State of New York seeks justice for Mr. Pritchett, the fact remains that not every case of wrongful death will be pursued by the attorney general.

In these cases, a lawsuit in civil court may be the only remedy. “Wrongful death” suits, as they are known, are one way that the family of victims can seek justice. And while monetary rewards achieved at trial will never bring back the victim, they serve as punishment for the offender, and can create a vital deterrent to remind everyone that their actions have consequences.

To succeed in a wrongful death suit, immediate family members must prove four key things:

1. Negligence, meaning the party being sued was reckless or careless in their actions.

2. Breach of Duty, meaning that the offender should have done something, but didn’t.

3. Causation, meaning that the specific things the offender did (or didn’t do) actually led to the death of the victim.

4. Damages, meaning that the death of the victim caused specific costs for the family, such as hospital charges or burial fees. In addition, it’s common to seek “pain and suffering” damages.

We certainly hope that you and your family remain safe and sound throughout your lives. But if a loved one dies unexpectedly, whether after being held by police as with Mr. Pritchett, or after a hospital stay, car accident, or any other unusual circumstance, you will need expert help in successfully righting any possible wrongs. Be sure to call the caring team at Avanzino & Moreno at (718) 802-1616 as soon as you can, and let us help you. We know how to fight, and fight hard, to achieve justice for our clients.

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Avanzino & Moreno, LLC, offers this information solely for your entertainment. It is not legal advice and should not be considered as such. This information does not confer any promise or guarantee of outcome, monetary damages, legal services or success in any particular case.