Chicago Civil Rights Lawyer

You have rights provided by federal laws enacted by the U.S. Congress. When another party or institution violates these rights, you can seek monetary remedies or injunctive relief through a civil rights lawsuit. 

At Ankin Law, our experienced civil rights lawyers can review your case to determine the best avenue for remedying the violations imposed on you. 

We Demand Justice for Civil Rights Violations in Illinois
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The civil rights inherited by U.S. citizens are extensive. Generally, they prohibit discriminative actions against protected classes under any circumstances, disruptions in the procedural due process of the criminal justice system, and the violation of the core rights provided in key constitutional amendments. 

When civil rights violations occur, Chicagoans may be able to take legal action and recover damages. In addition to providing you with a means of recovering compensation for your economic and non-economic losses, filing a lawsuit helps prevent you and other people in our community from suffering further harm. 

The Civil Rights Act, Section 1981, and Section 1983 Claims

The primary basis for civil rights violation lawsuit rests in the Civil Rights Act of 1964, Section 1981 claims, and Section 1983 claims. These provisions prohibit general discriminative practices, protect against discrimination in contract enforcement, and allow for legal remedies for individuals whose rights are violated by government employees and other offending parties, respectively. 

The Civil Rights Act of 1964: This act prohibits discrimination on the basis of race, color, religion, sex or national origin. This primarily applies to cases involving employment situations, such as hiring and firing. 

Section 1981: Section 1981 creates grounds for legal action against offending parties who discriminate against protected classes regarding contract enforcement. The term “contract” extends to employment relationships, as well as housing and other contractual situations. While most race discrimination claims are brought under the Civil Rights Act of 1964, Section 1981 provides other advantages to plaintiffs, such as uncapped damages, a longer statute of limitations, and allowing for actions to be brought against employers of any size.

Section 1983: Section 1983 allots individuals with the right to bring a lawsuit against government employees or others acting under the “color of law” for civil rights violations. Rather than providing civil rights, Section 1983 enforces them. 

If your rights were violated by an offending party or institution, call a Chicago, IL civil rights attorney at Ankin Law for a free legal consultation. (312) 600-0000.

Our Attorneys Have Recovered Hundreds of Millions of Dollars on Behalf of Our Clients

Our Chicago trial lawyers have developed a reputation for taking on some of the most challenging personal injury and medical malpractice cases in Illinois – and winning. We have recovered hundreds of millions in settlements and verdicts for our personal injury and medical malpractice clients.

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    Our Attorneys Have Recovered Hundreds of Millions of Dollars on Behalf of Our Clients

    Our Chicago trial lawyers have developed a reputation for taking on some of the most challenging personal injury and medical malpractice cases in Illinois – and winning. We have recovered hundreds of millions in settlements and verdicts for our personal injury and medical malpractice clients.

    as co-counsel for misdiagnosis resulting in above-the-knee leg amputation. 2021
    in combined benefits for tradesman who fell from scaffold. 2022.
    as co-counsel for a client who suffocated and died while cleaning her tracheotomy. 2016.
    as co-counsel for anesthesia death. 2015.

    We handle civil rights cases in Chicago, Cicero, Chicago Heights, Schaumburg, Joliet, Waukegan, Wheaton, Naperville, Rosemont, Elgin, Morton, Bartonville, Eureka, Orland Park, Bloomington, Galesburg, and the surrounding communities.

    We Are the Civil Rights Attorneys Chicago Trusts

    Highly Recommended!!

    Did an awesome job helping my Husband with his case. Very professional and always getting back to us with an answer. Karolina, thank you for all your help on always getting back to us when we had questions. Definitely will go back if I needed a lawyer again. Very patient with us and did not pressure us at all!

    ~ Leslie

    Ankin Law is one law firm that I would recommend anyone to use for cases of injuries. They are very thorough when working on your case and very professional. Their legal assistant Alex Quigley is a very polite and a pleasant person to work with. She is very thorough, very professional and very patient. If there were any problems that came about with your case, she would be right on it, and she would get the matter resolved. She cares about her/their clients, and she does her all to make you feel comfortable working with the law firm. Alex, continue to do what you do.

    ~ Sherry

    I was told to go to Ankin Law because they were the best, and they truly did not disappoint! Upon getting in contact with Ankin, I was introduced to one of their OUTSTANDING employees, Kat McHenry. Kat helped me get all the information I needed regarding my insurance issue and has helped me immensely with a plan to move forward. I would recommend both Kat McHenry and Ankin Law to anyone I know. Thanks for being so amazing!

    ~ Nicholas

    Over the past 16 months the lawyers and the assistants have done an excellent job with my case in helping me resolve issues and getting a settlement in a timely manner they have gone above and beyond to help me with the issues of navigating through my case

    ~ Robert F.

    We are your voice when you or your family member suffers a personal injury or wrongful death caused by someone else.

    What Are Civil Rights Violations?

    United States citizens are entitled to certain rights as provided by the constitution. These rights include freedom from discrimination on the basis of sex, race, national origin, and membership of other protected classes. Additionally, the rights inherited by American citizens include freedom of speech, assembly, religion, and the right to petition the government. Civil rights also provide individuals with entitlement to the right to due process of law. Though the United States provides many other inherent rights to its citizens, these are the rights that are most frequently violated. 

    Any discriminative act, intentional tort, or threat of harm or force toward a member of a protected class qualifies as a violation of the victim’s civil rights. Additionally, any act that takes away a citizen’s granted freedoms based on his or her sex, race, gender, age, disability, sexual orientation, or national origin is a civil rights violation. 

    Civil Rights Laws

    Federal laws enacted by congress, like the Civil Rights Act of 1964, form the basis of the personal rights and freedoms guaranteed to U.S. citizens. These laws prohibit discrimination and guarantee equality in a variety of settings, such as lending, housing, education, employment, voting, and other circumstances. Laws supporting the civil rights of citizens include:

    Protections Against Age Discrimination

    The Age Discrimination Act of 1975 protects individuals from discrimination on the basis of age in programs or activities run by agencies receiving federal financial assistance. The Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA) prevents discrimination on the basis of age in hiring practices. The Older Workers’ Benefit Protection Act allows further protections for access to benefit programs through employment. 

    Protections for Persons With Disabilities

    Laws that protect persons with disabilities from discrimination include the Air Carrier Access Act of 1986 (ACAA), which prohibits discrimination in access to air transportation against persons with disabilities. The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) protects against discrimination in employment, education, and public access. Similarly, the Architectural Barriers Act of 1968 requires the design, construction, and alteration of federally funded buildings to be handicap accessible, and the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 protects persons with disabilities against employment discrimination by federally funded organizations. 

    Finally, the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) protects the rights of students with disabilities, ensuring that children with disabilities have free access to appropriate public education.

    Protections in the Workplace

    Other Civil Rights Protections

    There are a variety of additional provisions that protect the civil rights of American citizens. These include:

    The Civil Rights of Institutionalized Persons Act- Protects institutionalized individuals against unconstitutional conditions. 

    The Equal Credit Opportunity Act (ECOA) – Protects against discrimination by creditors on the basis of inclusion in a protected class or the participation in a public assistance program.

    The Fair Housing Act (FHA) – Protects against discrimination in housing based on membership in a protected class or familial status.

    The Disaster Relief and Emergency Assistance Act – Prohibits discrimination in the provision of relief operations.

    The National Voter Registration Act (NVRA) – Establishes the acceptable means through which citizens are recruited to vote in elections for national office.

    The Religious Land Use and Institutionalized Persons Act (RLUIPA) – This act protects individuals, religious institutions, and houses of worship from discrimination in zoning laws. It also provides religious protections for institutionalized individuals.

    Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972 – This prohibits sex-based discrimination in federally funded education programs.

    Civil Rights Title 42, Chapter 21 – This provides blanket protections against discrimination based on sex, age, disability, gender, race, national origin, religion, and membership of other protected classes in education, public access, employment, federal service provision, and other settings. This chapter is where many civil rights acts, such as the Civil Rights Acts of 1866 and 1964 and the Civil Rights of Institutionalized Persons Act, were codified. 

    The Voting Rights Act of 1965 (VRA) – This act prohibits the denial of voting rights and discrimination in voting practices.

    When Can You Sue for Civil Rights Violations?

    Any time the violation of your civil rights causes you injury, pain and suffering, emotional distress, or leads you to sustain damages, you can file a civil rights lawsuit. These lawsuits are initiated by filing a complaint filed through the applicable federal or state agency. Though you can file a complaint on your own, civil rights claims are complex and difficult to prove. Your case is best protected by a civil rights lawyer who understands the depth of the consequences you suffered as a result of the violation of your rights.

    While there are a variety of circumstances that can give rise to civil rights violations, victims most commonly file a claim based on one of the following violations:

    • Unlawful search and seizure
    • Abuse by a police officer or police misconduct
    • Discrimination based on beliefs, superficial qualities, or membership of a protected class
    • Violations of a person’s right to procedural due process in law
    • Hate crimes

    The potential for a civil rights violation lies in a variety of circumstances. An experienced civil rights attorney can help you review your case to determine whether the liable party violated your rights according to federal and state laws.

    Helpful Resources from Our Chicago Civil Rights Lawyers

    Are you the victim of a civil rights violation? Check out our Civil Rights Knowledge Center to learn more about civil rights lawsuits in Chicago.

    Learn More

    Situations That Commonly Lead to a Civil Rights Lawsuit

    A number of circumstances can produce a civil rights violation that provides the basis for a lawsuit against the offending party. Common situations that lead to a civil lawsuit include:

    When any of the above circumstances exist, or a victim’s civil rights are violated under other conditions, the offending party can be held liable for the ensuing damages.

    What Damages Are Available in a Civil Rights Claim?

    The damages you can claim in your civil rights lawsuit will depend on the expenses you incurred because of the violation. In some cases, a lawsuit or complaint may only result in injunctive relief. In other cases, however, your case may be worth monetary compensation. 

    Monetary damages you can recover in a civil rights lawsuit include: 

    • Lost wages
    • Medical expenses
    • Pain and suffering
    • Emotional injuries, such as anxiety, PTSD, and depression
    • Humiliation and reputational harm
    • Confinement compensation

    In addition to the above damages, you can recover for any out-of-pocket expenses you incurred as a direct result of the offender’s violation of your rights. You may also be able to recover attorneys fees, legal costs, and punitive damages from the liable party. 

    Don’t let a violation of your rights go unpunished. Call a civil rights lawyer at Ankin Law to start seeking legal remedies today. (312) 600-0000.

    How long can you sue for a civil rights violation?

    Civil rights lawsuits brought against an offending party or institution have a two-year statute of limitations. This applies to cases involving discrimination and those based on personal injury.

    What is my civil rights case worth?

    The value of your civil rights case will depend on the damages you suffered as a result of the offender’s violation. In some cases, this extends to monetary recovery, while other cases simply qualify for injunctive relief.

    Who can you sue for a civil rights violation?

    You can sue any institution or offending party when they violate your core rights provided by the constitution. This can include government agencies, federally funded educational systems, police officers, and others.

    Frequently Asked Questions About Civil Rights Lawsuits in Chicago