I received a phone call today from a gentleman, we’ll call him Pete, who was attacked and injured outside of a Publix supermarket by his ex-girlfriend’s current fiancé, who had attacked him some months prior. The attacker was arrested.
While Pete was working with the state attorney to bring criminal charges, he wanted to know if he could bring a civil personal-injury claim against his attacker. The answer is: yes. But our firm would not take the case. Here’s why:
Keep in mind that there are two potential defendants here: the attacker and publix.
- liability, who was at fault?
- damages, how severe are the injuries
- deep pocket, who can pay?
Damages were not an issue (Pete was sufficiently injured).
The attacker would undoubtedly be held liable. The problem here was with element (c). Pete knew that his attacker was a man of modest means and owned insignificant assets. Bringing a claim or law suit against the attacker would, therefore, likely be a waste of time and money.
Publix certainly has enough money to pay on almost any legitimate claim, however, when looking at Publix, the problem would be with element (a). It would be difficult to hold Publix liable/responsible for Pete’s injuries.