Kentucky Civil Rights Frequently Asked Questions

Civil rights law covers a wide variety of government activity. Every civil rights case is different, and your lawsuit may not even involve the same laws as the next case. However, there are some frequently asked questions that come up regularly. Here’s a good place to start if you are wondering if you have a civil rights case.

Generally speaking, the Constitution only applies to public entities: government officials, state and federal departments, law enforcement offices, etc. You generally can’t file a civil rights lawsuit against a social media company, for example, or a private store for violating your constitutional rights. (There may be other laws that you can use, but not the U.S. or state constitutions.) That said, sometimes private companies are doing government work. When a private company is under contract to the government, they can be sued for violating your constitutional rights.

Many victims of police misconduct or inmate abuse are worried that filing a civil rights lawsuit might make things worse for them. You may worry that you will face retaliation from local law enforcement or the guards assigned in your facility. These are real concerns. That kind of retaliation is also illegal. If you think you may be treated differently because you are trying to protect your rights, we have tools at our disposal to protect you. Be sure to talk to us about your concerns, so we can help.

You don’t necessarily have to be physically hurt to file a civil rights lawsuit. Federal courts have said that a constitutional right violation is harm in itself. That said, not every harm is worth filing an individual civil lawsuit over.

Every civil lawsuit comes down to a monetary number. Some civil rights cases have very clear damages connected to them. But other constitutional harms can be harder to put a dollar value on. Figuring out how much your case is worth involves calculating:

  • Medical expenses (past and future)
  • Lost wages
  • Other out-of-pocket expenses
  • Ongoing disability or lost earning capacity
  • Pain and Suffering
  • Humiliation
  • Reputation injuries
  • Other non-economic damages
  • Punitive damages in severe cases
  • Statutory damages included in specific civil rights laws
  • Attorney fees and costs included in specific civil rights laws

Some of these damages are easier to measure than others. We will discuss what your civil rights case may be worth in our initial consultation, to help you decide whether a lawsuit is your best choice.

Most civil rights lawsuits in the state of Kentucky have a 1 year statute of limitation from the date the injury occurred. It is very important to talk to a civil rights lawyer as soon as possible to protect your claim.

All civil rights lawsuits are filed in federal court. That means your case will likely be heard by the United States District Court for either the Eastern District or Western District of Kentucky. Each district has several court locations, so be sure you know where to go before your court hearing.

Most of our civil rights clients sign a contingency fee agreement. That means we are paid a percentage of what you receive in any settlement or verdict. You will still be responsible for costs -- including expert witness fees -- if you lose. However, as civil rights lawyers, we will only be paid when you win.

Don’t See Your Question? Get Help from a Kentucky Civil Rights Attorney

Nothing replaces an honest assessment of your case by an experienced civil rights attorney. If you don’t see the answer to your question, or if you think you have a civil rights case, you should discuss it with an experienced attorney as soon as possible to protect your claim. Contact Noel Caldwell, Attorney at Law, PLLC, to get an honest assessment of your civil rights case today.