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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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