What Businesses Need to Know About Liability

When you run a business, you have a lot of concerns every single day. There are concerns about sales, concerns about customer service, concerns about payroll, concerns about employee satisfaction, concerns about management quality and satisfaction, concerns about advertising, and many more. You’ve got a lot of bills to pay, checks to sign, and people to keep happy.

One other thing you should have on your mind, though, is whether your store is liable if someone hurts themselves in it.

It may sound far-fetched in some stores, and yet, all it would take is for a little water to leak from the sprinkler system above, or for someone to spill a drink, and for that to lead to a customer or employee slipping. Then, there you are, in the midst of a difficult case, arguing with insurance, and maybe even dealing with a lawsuit.

According to the law firm Schuler, Halvorson, Weisser, Zoeller & Overbeck, P.A., you should add these concerns to your daily list to make sure you are protected from any liability if someone should injure themselves.

Slips and Falls: As discussed above, any spills that aren’t marked by a warning sign could lead to you being liable for someone slipping. Make sure employees know to clean up spills immediately and to post signs.

Negligent Security: If a crime is committed in your store, that’s bad enough, but if there is no security, and someone gets hurt, you may be liable for that, on top of everything else.

Dog Bites: If you have dogs on the premises make sure they are well trained and kept away from customers and employees who don’t know how to handle them.

Porch/Stair Collapse: Entrances to your store or any elevated areas that might collapse would be entirely on you as the property owner. Make sure everything has been well maintained.

Fires: If you don’t have adequate ways to fight fires and help people escape, that will be held against you later.

Lead Paint and Mercury: By now, you should know better about both of these. Replace lead paint immediately and make sure there is no mercury on the premises. It’s really best to avoid these two entirely if possible.

Swimming Pool Injuries: If you have a pool on your premises, make sure there are signs that clearly warn people that the surface can be wet and people can slip. Make sure all surfaces are slip-resistant to help avoid any injuries.

Most of these fixes can be done one time, but you should keep an eye out for any other potential causes of liability. As a business owner, one of your many responsibilities is to make sure your premises are as safe as possible for those who enter it. That means all customers and employees can expect that everything possible has been done to keep them safe.

If you follow the advice above, you’ll be well on your way to that goal.

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How planting trees can affect your energy costs

Anyone who has lived in Texas or has ever visited during the summer will be able to tell you how unbearable the summers are. Summer is longer here than other states, and sometimes there will be weeks of back to back triple digit temperatures. Unlike other places in the US, nearly every home in Texas comes equipped with central air conditioning, and even then many still have ceiling fans running continuously to help bring the temperature down. Because of this, energy costs due to air conditioning are enormous in Texas, but an easy way to save is by planting trees around your home.

The US Department of Energy has published guidelines to follow when deciding where to plant a tree in order to provide the maximum amount of energy savings. The air temperature directly under shade trees can be up to 25 degrees cooler than surrounding pavement, and even the unshaded areas around trees can be up to 6 degrees cooler simply due to the trees releasing water vapor. The best trees for cooling your home during the summer are deciduous trees planted to the south because they will block harsh summer sunlight but still allow light through in the winter. If you live in cold climates, bushy evergreen trees that will not lose their leaves in the winter are ideal for blocking biting winds. The DoE also recommends planting slow-growing trees even if it may take a few years to completely shade the roof of your home because they generally live longer than fast-growing ones and have stronger root networks that can withstand strong winds and snow build up. Also, native trees are preferred, because they require less maintenance and are less likely to push out other native species. It’s not only trees that can assist in lowering energy costs; creeping vines on trellises can shade a patio area, and bushes and shrubs can shade hot, concrete walkways.

Before you immediately rush out to plant new trees, it is also important to consider other climate factors. The East Texas coast suffers from hurricanes, and having trees too close to you home may be a hazard in case of heavy winds. If you live in central and west Texas, you may want to take advantage of these dry areas by installing solar panels, in which case you would want to change the placements of your trees so that your solar panels can get the most sunlight. If you’re unsure of how to go about placing your trees, tree care in Austin and elsewhere in the state can help you.

Even though enduring the Texas heat can be a challenge, you can make it much easier on yourself by planting shade trees around you home. In addition to the energy savings, you may also be raising the property value of your home at the same time and promoting your psychological well-being. However you want to look at it, the few hundred dollars you spend on planting trees is an excellent investment.




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Who is Eligible Under Chapter 13 Bankruptcy?

Chapter 13 Bankruptcy Code, also known as Wage-earner’s Plan, Repayment Plan or Debt Adjustment is a restructuring type of bankruptcy wherein debtors are allowed to design a three-year payment proposal during which time they can settle their debts (this plan can be extended up to five years if approved by the court). This proposal, which is actually a restructured payment scheme, is aimed at helping debtors make debt payments more affordable for them. Unlike Chapter 7 bankruptcy, wherein debtors will need to submit their “non-exempt” properties for liquidation, debtors who file for bankruptcy under this chapter are allowed to keep their properties and assets; business owners are also allowed to continue operating their business, especially if it is a major source of their income and payment for debts.

Besides forbidding creditors from starting or continuing any effort to collect payment (while the chapter 13 plan is in effect), there are many other advantages offered by this chapter. As listed in the website of the United States Courts (uscourts.gov), these advantages include:

  • Keeping a debtor’s home from getting foreclosed and a chance for debtors to pay past due mortgage payments over time.
  • The chance to reschedule secured debts and extend payments for these over the approved chapter 13 plan (either three years or five years).
  • Protection for co-signers or a third party who is equally liable with the debtor.
  • Coursing all plan payments to a chapter 13 trustee instead of to the creditors directly. This keeps debtors from having direct contact with creditors.

Individuals, who may be operating an unincorporated business or are self-employed, are eligible for chapter 13 protection (corporations or partnerships do not qualify under this chapter), but only if their secured debts are less than $1,149,525 and their unsecured debts, less than $383,175 (these figures are occasionally adjusted in order to reflect changes in the consumer price index.

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Depression: How common is it?

Depression is not always a topic that people are willing to openly discuss, even if they feel they may be suffering symptoms of the disorder. However, despite people’s hesitancy to talk, depression is one of the most common mood disorders in the world, affecting approximately 7%, or 15.7 million, of all adults, according to The Solace Center website.

Major depression or clinical depression is defined as a mood disorder that causes persistent feelings of sadness and loss of interest. Depression can occur to any individual at any age, including children and the elderly. The symptoms of depression are extensive, but can be hard to identify. Signs include anxiety, reduced appetite or weight loss, loss of pleasure in activities, fatigue, and irritability. These symptoms can escalate and cause individuals to inflict self-harm or have thoughts of suicide, making treatment for depression vital.

Clinical depression is often treated with medication and therapy, or a combination of both. With treatment, depression is very manageable and most individuals can lead normal and happy lives even with the disorder. After a diagnosis, a doctor or psychotherapist will determine the best course of treatment based on the severity of the disorder and persistence of symptoms. Regardless of what type of treatment is best, individuals can significantly improve their quality of life even if they suffer from major depression. While clinical depression is a serious disorder, it does not have to control an individual’s life. If you believe that you may be experiencing signs of depression, talk to your doctor or a therapist as soon as possible.

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Keeping your Gun at its best, While in Storage

Gun enthusiasts know how costly it is to buy and maintain their ammos. Not only are guns and gun equipment costly to buy, they can also cost you too much for repair and upkeep. A baffle strike, for instance, could cause your poorly mounted suppressor to be damaged, which could translate to hefty repair costs. Although according to the Suppressed Weapon Systems website, baffle strikes should never be a problem for guns whose suppressors are integrated with its barrel.

Buying a gun is one thing, keeping it is another. In safe-keeping your gun, it is important to note the common problems that may arise when your gun is stored improperly, and how you might be able to prevent them:

Corrosion and discoloration

Although almost all guns are created using materials that are highly-resistant to corrosion, there are certain conditions that makes it possible for your gun to be coated with rust. A gun stored in a very humid place, for instance, can make it more prone to rust and discoloration. Because presence of salt can also trigger corrosion, gun owners living in an area near a sea coast with salt-spray air should store their ammo in an air conditioned room to avoid damage.


High humidity may also damage your guns. When the air is too dry, it may cause your wooden gunstock to shrink, although this should never be a problem for rifles equipped with metallic stocks.


When left for a long period of time, moisture on your gun’s surface may cause discoloration. Moisture can develop on your ammo’s surface because of sudden shift in temperature. That’s why it is very important to store your ammo in a room where the temperature is regulated or doesn’t change dramatically. You should also clean your ammo regularly to avoid moisture from holding too long.

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Kingspoint Mullet is Graffiti Haven

Of all the things that you would want to see in Houston, graffiti may not be on the top of your list. You may very well change your mind if you catch a look at The Mullet at Kingspoint.

Houston has many museums and art galleries, but the Kingspoint Mullet is unique. It is a haven for street artists and graffiti geniuses that want to express themselves, beautifully, without being hassled for breaking the law (Texas Penal Code §28.0). Houston frowns mightily down on people who deface buildings with paint, no matter how wonderful the result. Not at The Mullet, though.

It is actually a warehouse rented by Johnathan Estes and converted into a gallery for street art two years ago. It is located on 10902 Kingspoint Rd. between Fuqua and Almeda Genoa Rd. The name is a reference to the haircut where the hair is neat and short in front but long at the back because there is a party space at the back of the gallery (party at the back, business in front). It is now under the management of the non-profit Southern Artists Foundation.

The Mullet is definitely a must-see in Houston. Aside from its size, (it is the biggest of its kind anywhere in the US), the quality of the art on the outside walls as well as inside will blow you away. Among the artists that have made their mark on The Mullet is muralist Daniel “Weah” Anguilu. However, because it is a space where anyone can put a spray can to, not all the work is good. They are all colorful, though, and there are enough standout sections to make it worth the trip.

If you want to try your hand at it, you can if you ask for permission. You can only paint on the inside walls, though , and you have to find your own empty space. You can bring your own stuff or get it from Overspray Paint Supply, which is located inside The Mullet. While you’re at it, you might want to make a small donation, as The Mullet is constantly struggling to pay its rent.

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What are Mineral Rights?

Mineral rights are a form of real property. It is distinct from the surface land rights, and each may be owned by different entities. As such, the mineral rights owner has the right to use it as desired without interference from the surface land owner.

It is important to understand that mineral rights can be severed from surface land ownership. Many people may not be aware that they own mineral rights to the land, and if they do that they have the attendant rights of ownership, or that they do not own the mineral rights at all. This has sparked some controversy among land owners who find themselves in the midst of a dispute with hitherto unsuspected owners of the mineral rights under their land.

In other countries, this would not be an issue because mineral go to the government or state by default. However, things are different in the US. Real property laws allow for the private ownership of mineral rights, so it can lead to some bitter fights when the time comes to exploit the minerals in, say, a horse farm in Lee County where the Eagle Shale Ford is located.

It is also important to know that severed mineral rights in some states “expire.” What this means is the ownership of severed mineral rights that have lain dormant for a certain number of years may revert to the surface land owner. In North Dakota, for example, mineral rights that have been “abandoned” or unused for 20 years reverts back to the surface land owner.

This can be a boon for surface landowners who sold their mineral rights to speculators that never got around to developing the asset. They can get back their rights and sell it all over again. However, if mineral rights owners are not aware they own it, this is a waste. Make sure that you don’t make that mistake and do your research about any mineral rights you may own through an inheritance or other conveyance.

However, if the owner of the mineral rights decides to start development and mining operations, the surface landowner generally has no choice but to grant reasonable access. This is one of the inclusions in mineral rights.

If you are planning to sell your mineral rights, you should make sure that you know everything there is to know about its value. You can also choose to make it easy on yourself by getting a reputable mineral rights auction house do the legwork for you.

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Driving Distractions: Acts Many Drivers are Guilty of

As more and more cars continue to populate US roads and highways every year, the influx of information on the necessity that drivers should be totally focused on the road while driving becomes more vital. Drivers know very well that even a couple of seconds of distraction can spell danger; a mistake that may result to property damage, bodily injury or death.

Besides medical malpractice and abuse of, or too much dependence on, prescription drugs, car crashes are included in the list of the major causes of deaths, especially of teens, in the US. Of the more than five million accidents occurring each year, no less than 35,000 result to someone’s death, while more than two million end up in injuries.

The Most Likely Causes and Victims of Car Accidents

Different studies only confirm the findings of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), which says that a greater percentage of road mishaps are due to teens more than adult drivers, who are more mature and, probably, more experienced on the road. This maturity and experience are shown in the fact that a much lesser number of adult drivers are involved in drunken driving, speeding, violation of traffic rules (such as making illegal turns, running red lights, etc.) and distracted driving.

According to the website of the Abel Law Firm, distracted driving, which is veering one’s attention to something else while behind the wheel, is a growing concern among teenage drivers. Though all drivers are probably guilty of being distracted once upon a time in their driving career, distractions are more frequent among the young, many of whom tend to underestimate and fail to recognize dangerous road situations.

Most common forms of driver distraction

While the use of cell phone (whether hands-free or hand-held) definitely increases the risk of a crash, this only make up a lower percentage of the total number of driving distraction-related accidents involving teens and other drivers. The greater number of accidents is either due to other in-vehicle or external sources, including: adjusting a car radio, a compact disc player or a GPS device; using a laptop; talking or arguing with a car passenger; assisting a child; being distracted by a child or a pet; reaching for an object; lighting a cigarette, grooming; one’s attention being caught by a moving object outside of the car, and so forth.

Parents making sure that their teenage son or daughter is trained in a good driving school or is well-supervised until he/she shows focus and maturity behind the wheel will definitely never hurt. Though one may be very familiar with the road he/she is driving on, a moment of distraction can change safe driving to an injurious or fatal one.

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Treat Acne Safely with the Power of IPL

One of the latest and known to be safest treatment for acne and acne scars is the IPL or Intense Pulsed Light treatment. IPL acne treatments work by targeting the blocked pores inflamed by the built-up sebum and bacteria, killing the bacteria and clearing the pores. It helps prevent further acne breakouts by tightening the pores to avoid sebum and bacteria build-up. IPL also helps even out the skin tone, especially after acne caused dark spots on the skin.

IPL treatments in any med spa are pretty much the same, and results will depend on the skin type and severity of the acne. It is necessary to first consult with your doctor to help determine your skin type and check how many treatments you might need. Your doctor, or dermatologist, should also be able to advise you whether IPL acne treatment is for you or you are better off looking for other treatment alternatives.

If you are considering IPL acne treatment, there are some things that you need to know. First, know that there will be some slight discomfort during treatment, which can be alleviated with application of a cooling gel on the area to make the treatment more comfortable. Additionally, there might be some redness on the treated area, along with skin peeling and swelling. It is important to avoid direct sun exposure, or limit the time being under the sun. It helps to put on sun block even on cloudy days.

Make sure that the person who administers the IPL treatment is skilled and hare the necessary training to perform the procedure. Those who are not qualified can only damage or burn your skin and leave uneven skin patches, particularly people with a darker skin tone. Find a med spa that is medically capable and licensed to perform the treatment, with qualified aestheticians or dermatologists and a doctor to oversee the whole operation.

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Comparison of Pradaxa and Xarelto

There are a lot of similarities between Pradaxa (dabigatran etexilate mesylate), manufactured by Boehringer Ingelheim, and Xarelto (rivaroxaban) by Bayer AG and distributed by Janssen Pharmaceutica, a division of Johnson & Johnson (J&J). Both are anticoagulants marketed as the better alternative to warfarin as the standard therapy for blood clot problems because they do not require stringent monitoring and lifestyle changes. However, they also have no approved agent to reverse the blood thinning effects in case of excessive bleeding, a common problem with anticoagulants, unlike warfarin in which a shot of Vitamin K is an effective antidote. As pointed out on the website of the xarelto lawsuit lawyers Williams Kherkher, patients who take either Pradaxa or Xarelto and who suffer excessive bleeding as a result are at risk of serious injury or death.

There are some differences, though. Pradaxa is part of a class of drugs known as direct thrombin inhibitors and was approved for the treatment of nonvalvular atrial fibrillation (A-fib) by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in October 2010, so it had a bit of a head start on Xarelto, gaining approval for the management of atrial fibrillation in July 2011. Xarelto is the first of the direct Factor Xa (10-a) inhibitor class of anticoagulants that act on the Factor X of the coagulation cascade rather than thrombin.

Despite being a latecomer to the US, it wasn’t long before Xarelto surpassed Pradaxa in sales as well as the number of complaints lodged with the FDA. It is a dubious honor, but testament to the popularity of the drug.

The first cases against Boehringer for Pradaxa was filed in March 2012, alleging that the drug maker knew about but failed to warn physicians and patients about the dangers associated with the medication. Xarelto, on the other hand, first came to the civil court’s attention in February 2014, and the claim against Bayer and J&J was that the drug was too dangerous to be administered. Pradaxa is in the midst of multidistrict litigation while only a handful of individual cases have been filed for Xarelto.

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