Our law firm recently concluded the settlement of a workplace violence claim where our client, a security guard, was shot and paralyzed by a co-worker. The claim involved overcoming a major legal challenge known as Worker’s Compensation Immunity. In Florida, in order to sue an employer that provides an injured employee with worker’s compensation benefits, the claimant must prove by clear and convincing evidence, that the employer acted with such willful and gross negligence, that the conduct was virtually certain to lead to injury, damage or death. This is the highest evidentiary standard in Florida law.
Our case involved a security company that hired ex-offenders to provide armed security services. The only criteria for the selection was their ability to obtain a security guard license from the state of Florida. No other inquiry was made as to the nature of their criminal history, or background. No inquiry was made as to the suitability or temperament to be a security guard – especially an armed one. In our client’s case, the fellow security officer had a history of criminal conduct, including violence. He was moved around within the company before the shooting because of behavioral issues. On the date of the incident a verbal confrontation between our client and the fellow officer led to our client being shot in the back and paralyzed from the waist down. After many years of litigation, we were able to resolve the case for a confidential sum and obtain a favorable result for our client and his family that will provide them financial security in the future.
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