When someone is unlawfully held by another person, it can amount to false imprisonment, which can lead to a civil claim for monetary damages. False arrest is a type of false imprisonment, but such cases have unique elements. False arrest claims usually involve legal authorities, while false imprisonment can be done by anyone. Below are the elements of false imprisonment claims, which lake county attorneys can use to form the base of a personal injury lawsuit.

Unlawful Detainment

For a person to be held against his or her will, they must be prohibited from leaving a particular area. The area can be as small as a room or as large as a country; detention does not happen when someone is kept from entering an area. A detention must involve the threat of or use of force, and the threatened harm does not have to be physical. A believable, implied threat to a person's reputation or property is sufficient to lodge a personal injury claim.


For a claim to be successful, the detainee cannot have an easy method of escape. If such an avenue exists and the detainee fails to use it, detention is considered to be voluntary and no case can be filed. Things like fear of a public altercation or a belief that someone is in a position of authority are enough to eliminate the likelihood of escape.

Intentional Detention

It's not enough for a defendant to negligently create conditions to confine another person. However, an unlawful imprisonment can happen if a defendant plans to confine a person, but accidentally confines someone else.

Unlawful Detention

In most cases, the lawfulness of a detention depends on whether the arrest was legal. Even in such instances, detaining a plaintiff after a not-guilty verdict will create a false imprisonment case. In cases involving shoplifters, store owners must have probable cause to believe that the person actually stole something. With a lack of probable cause, a detention is unlawful. Even if there is probable cause, if a plaintiff is held in an unreasonable way a false imprisonment ca3se can be brought by injury lawyers.