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Our human rights solicitors helped a vulnerable woman secure a life-changing settlement after suffering a broken jaw while in police custody.
How It Happened
Our client, Kirsten*, was going through a difficult time and struggling with mental health issues. Two police officers arrived at Kirsten’s door after she had an argument with her landlady. The officers told Kirsten to come with them but didn’t say if she was being arrested or not. Kirsten asked them repeatedly where they were taking her, but the officers wouldn’t tell her.
The police officers first took Kirsten to hospital. At this point, Kirsten was still unsure what was going on or if she was being arrested. She refused to get out of the police van because she didn’t know why she was at the hospital.
The officers then drove to the police station. When they arrived, Kirsten was still afraid to get out of the van.
The officers responded by pulling Kirsten out of the van and onto the floor. Because the officers pulled her with such force, she wasn’t able to break her fall and landed on her face on the concrete floor. This caused a painful and complex jaw fracture.
Kirsten needed extensive surgery on her jaw. As part of the procedure, her jaw was wired shut and she had to eat through a straw for several days.
The police force responsible didn’t report the incident to the Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC, now known as the Independent Office of Police Complaints or IOPC) despite the seriousness of Kirsten’s injuries. When Kirsten instructed us, we reported it on her behalf.
How We Helped
Kirsten contacted our human rights solicitors to see if there was anything she could do about the treatment she received from the officers. Our team, led by Fiona McGhie, helped Kirsten file an official complaint to the IPCC (now called IOPC) to make sure the incident was investigated.
We worked together with the IPCC to gather evidence and get a medical expert to access Kirsten’s injury. The medical expert looked at the seriousness of the injury and how it would affect Kirsten’s life going forward. We used this evidence to support a claim of false imprisonment and personal injury against the police force responsible.
We argued that Kirsten wasn’t arrested lawfully and that even if she was, the officers had used inappropriate and dangerous force against her. We negotiated a settlement of £38,250 shortly after filing the claim. This amount will help Kirsten pay for the ongoing treatment she still needed three years after the incident.
“We’re very pleased with the outcome of this claim. Being treated so badly by a police officer, a person who should protect us, is unacceptable. The settlement will help Kirsten continue her treatment and get the justice she deserves after this traumatic experience. ” – Fiona McGhie, human rights solicitor
"I am forever grateful to Fiona and her team at Irwin Mitchell. Without them I would have never been heard and justice would never have been served. Irwin Mitchell gives people with mental health and other issues a voice!
Their care and dedication is second to none.
Irwin Mitchell made a very bad time in my life a lot more bearable with their understanding and compassion for what is right. They are a light at the end of a tunnel for anyone who has been mistreated or suffered a wrong doing.
Thank you Irwin Mitchell." - Kirsten, client
If you or a loved one has suffered mistreatment from a police officer or another authority, contact our Human Rights lawyers today on 0800 028 1943 to get the justice you deserve.
*Not client’s real name
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