Questions + Answers About

Civil Rights

How long do I have to file a civil rights claim?

The statute of limitations is a time limit established by the laws of Wisconsin, and it determines how long you have to file a lawsuit. The statute of limitations varies depending on the details of your civil rights violation, so we recommend you pursue your case immediately.
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Do prisoners and those in group homes have the same civil rights as everyone else?

While prisoners and individuals in group homes may forfeit some rights (privacy, private property, etc.) they do retain the following rights:

- The right to humane facilities and conditions
- The right to be free from sexual crimes
- The right to be free from racial segregation
- The right to express condition complaints
- The right to assert their rights under the Americans with Disabilities Act
- The right to medical care and attention as needed
- The right to appropriate mental health care
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How does immunity impact civil rights cases?

Immunity is a legal doctrine that shields government employees from being liable for civil right violations — like the right to be free from excessive police force — for money damages under federal law so long as the officials did not violate “clearly established” law. Immunity can make it hard to bring cases against certain individuals, namely police officers, prison officials and school officials.
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What are civil rights vs. civil liberties?

Civil rights are not the same as civil liberties. The concept of civil rights has traditionally dealt with the right to be free from unfair and unequal treatment based on protected characteristics. Civil liberties are broader and guaranteed by the Constitution or other federal laws. These include the rights to free speech, privacy and voting.
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Can I sue an individual or organization for violating my civil rights?

While it’s difficult to sue an individual for violating your civil rights, you can sue their employer if it’s a governmental organization. Examples of governmental organizations include schools, police departments, correctional facilities, city/state governments and more.
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I believe I have a civil rights case. What should I do?

If you are injured, you should first seek medical treatment. Excessive force and police brutality injuries often include gunshots, internal bleeding, spinal cord injuries, torn ligaments and head trauma. The extent of these injuries may not be clear immediately, so a thorough exam is important.

Next, collect as much information related to your case as possible. Names, titles, badge numbers and other identifying information is helpful. Emails, letters, texts, voicemails and video related to the incident will also help prove your case.

Lastly, get in touch with Gingras, Thomsen & Wachs for a review of your case. Our experienced attorneys specializing in civil rights violations will review your situation and recommend next steps, which may include legal action.
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