The cause of the injury may not matter so much as the police's reaction to the injury in this Rhode Island police coma lawsuit.
A 42-year-old man, Daniel Finn, said he suffered permanent brain damage as the result of excessive force by police outside of a casino. The police say that Finn caused his own injuries by repeatedly banging his head on window bars while being taken to the station.
In either case, Finn says that the police's failure to notify hospital staff about his head injuries directly led to him falling into a coma and becoming brain damaged, reports The Valley Breeze.
The incident happened last year when Finn was apparently drunk and threatened to spit hepatitis infected saliva onto a police officer. As he made the hucking noises to spit, the cop took him down.
The point of contention is just how hard he was taken down. Finn says he was tossed to the ground by three cops in a manner in which he could not brace the fall, thereby leading to severe head injuries. The police say that they took Finn down, but that he contributed to his own head injuries by banging his head against the window on his ride to the police station, reports the Breeze.
Regardless of this dispute over the facts, what happens next may explain why Finn could win his lawsuit. Finn claims that after EMTs were brought to see him, the cops failed to tell the EMTs about Finn's head injuries.
If Finn was hurt, and the cops knew of the severity of the injuries, they may be negligent for failing to notify the medical staff. As a result, Finn said he ended up in a two-week coma that almost cost him his life. Finn says he now has to walk with a cane and his seeking damages as well as compensation for medical bills totaling over $287,430.
Generally, it is difficult to sue the police for personal injuries as cops are given some leeway (and force) to perform their jobs. That's why a plaintiff will have to show that the force is "excessive." However, this police coma lawsuit may not be a case about force, so much as a police officer's duty to notify medical staff about someone's injuries they caused.