Protesting is a right that every citizen of America is entitled to. It’s a perfectly legitimate way to show discontent about the manner in which the government handles things.
The right to protest is even protected in our constitution, and several changes for the betterment of society came about through protests. That said, they do tend to be unpredictable. It isn’t uncommon to see counter-protests where the situation can quickly get messy.
As such, it becomes critical that you know what your options are in case you end up getting hurt. Just as you have a right to protest, you also have a right to safety. However, a lot of people are unsure about if personal injury laws apply here.
Can you seek compensation through a personal injury lawsuit if you get hurt at a protest? That’s what we’ll be looking at in this article.
What Was the Scale of the Injury?
One of the first things you need to identify before seeking legal recourse. Tripping and falling just because you were in a crowd is not going to be legible grounds for a personal injury case against anyone.
Typically, an injury must cause significant harm, such as broken bones, lacerations, and even long-term disability. Personal injury cases often involve medical bills or lost wages that clearly demonstrate the scale of the injury.
There have been cases of people using vehicles as weapons and crashing into protesters. According to the Frantz Law Group, it is possible to seek justice in such situations. Other times, the injury could be caused by a deliberate shove or aggressive act.
So, yes, these incidents would count as grounds for personal injury cases, especially if they led to a serious injury.
The Source of the Injury is Also Important
The next thing you want to look at is the source of the injury. Often, filing a case against the police can be complex. They are often protected by qualified immunity, which shields them from responsibility if their actions were taken as part of their duties.
Naturally, these protections don’t exist for other civilians, meaning you will have an easier time pursuing a case against them.
In other words, getting pepper sprayed after failing to obey an officer of the law doesn’t count as a personal injury in most cases.
Of course, there are times when even police officers are held accountable. A good personal injury lawyer should be able to quickly tell you if you have a legitimate case.
Sometimes, they may even work on a contingency basis, meaning you don’t have to pay any legal fees if you don’t win. Of course, if you do win, the lawyer or law firm will take out a piece of the settlement as compensation.
What Factors Are Taken Into Account for Personal Injury Cases?
In recent times, some parts of the country have seen considerable protests. One example would be the pro-Palestine gatherings and protests happening in many parts of San Francisco. Many people have been injured in these protests, and one Jewish man lost his life.
Similarly, things took a violent turn during the recent Khalistan-related protests near the Indian Consulate. If someone was injured and consulted a San Francisco lawyer, they could receive useful advice on what steps to take to seek justice.
They can also provide advice on the factors that are usually taken into account that will affect any personal injury case filed. Let’s look at some of them.
Assumption of Risk and Comparative Negligence Can Bite You in the Back
The law tends to recognize situations where a person chooses to enter a high-risk situation. Sometimes, the law may state that the person has implicitly ‘assumed risk’.
Similarly, in some jurisdictions, comparative negligence also comes into play. This means that a percentage of the fault ends up being divided between both parties.
Essentially, you want to be extra careful and analyze your situation before taking any legal action. If it turns out that you are partly at fault, there’s a chance that you will end up getting penalized as well.
This is less than ideal, especially if you have medical bills to pay. Being hit with fines even though you were the one to file the case is something that is not exactly a good result.
In conclusion, filing a personal injury case after getting hurt during a protest is a good idea. Of course, you want to have enough evidence to prove your case is legitimate.
It’s best not to put yourself in harm’s way to begin with. That said, we don’t always have a choice. Thankfully, personal injury cases are quite common, and most attorneys and law firms have a lot of experience in handling them.