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Suing for Negligent Hiring and Retention


In March 2017, a female customer visited a Walmart in Orlando to have her car worked on. She claims that the mechanic failed to properly secure her hood and that it flew up and cracked her windshield, causing her to crash. The customer recently filed a lawsuit against Walmart, alleging negligent retention, negligent training and supervision, and gross negligence. She is seeking $15,000 for property damage, medical expenses, pain and suffering, and lost income, among other damages.

What Is Negligent Retention?

Under what circumstances can you sue a company for injuries caused by its employees? Florida employers are generally responsible for injuries caused by employees acting in the scope of their employment. However, the theory of “negligent retention” covers certain actions taken outside the scope of what the employee was hired to do. So in this case, if the mechanic had intentionally failed to secure the hood — which is obviously not what he was hired to do — the customer might be able to argue negligent retention. (But it’s not clear from these facts whether the mechanic acted intentionally.) It’s regular negligence if the mechanic failed to secure the hood out of carelessness.

Let’s break it down a little further. Generally when a company is sued for an employee’s conduct, it’s because the employee’s carelessness injured a customer, fellow employee or third party. But sometimes employees act intentionally. If an employee purposefully injures someone, the injured person might be able to sue under a theory of negligent retention. However, the injured person must prove that the company knew or should have known about the employee’s propensity for committing a harmful act while on the job.

Even if the mechanic acted intentionally, the injured party won’t be able to recover under a theory of negligent retention if she can’t prove that the company knew or should have known about his propensity for committing such an act.

What Is Negligent Hiring?

The theory of negligent hiring arises when a company hires an employee it knows or should know has a propensity for committing a harmful act while on the job. For example, if a trucking company hires a driver with a poor driving record and the driver causes an accident, an injured person might be able to recover damages under the theory of negligent hiring. Or if a company hires someone with a criminal record and that employee steals from or injures a customer, that customer can also argue negligent hiring.

An experienced attorney can help determine what legal theory applies to your case, whether it be negligent hiring or retention, or general negligence.

Contact Us Today

Contact a Fort Lauderdale personal injury attorney at The Pendas Law Firm today for a free consultation if your injury was potentially caused by a company’s negligent hiring or retention practices. We will examine the facts of your case and help recover compensation for your damages.

The Pendas Law Firm also represents clients in the West Palm Beach, Orlando, Fort Myers, Miami, Tampa, Jacksonville, Daytona Beach and Bradenton areas.



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