What happens if you slip and fall on someone else’s property?

Nov 08

I’ve been working in the restaurant industry for more than ten years. I currently work at a chain restaurant, and one of the other locations got sued after a slip and fall happened last year. After the suit was handled, corporate offices came down on all of the managers with new training in the event of slips, trips, and falls. Apparently, the corporate office had to pay out a lot more than they wanted to because they didn’t have a system in place to properly document slip and fall accidents.

Now whenever someone trips and falls in one of our restaurants, we have to go through a pretty rigorous process to make sure we have all of our bases covered. First, we take photographs of the place where the injury happened and make a note of the condition that caused a person to slip and fall. Then we have to make sure to save the videotape if we are able to get the accident on camera. After that, we talk to people that saw the incident happen and get the story from their point of view. Finally we right down all the details we’ve collected and prepare a full incident report. That’s a lot of work for a simple trip, but it’s corporate’s rules for every accident now.

I talked to some employees at the other restaurant that gave their testimony in court and they said that corporate went so far as to hire forensics people to recreate the scene and describe how an injury could have occurred in the first place. The forensics people recreated the restaurant scene on their computer and showed everyone how the layout of the scene affected the slip and fall.

I didn’t realize that slip and fall lawsuits happened so much in this country. If I slipped and fell at a restaurant and had to miss work, I would want the restaurant to pay for my hospital visit and time away from work. I always thought that it would just be bad luck if something like that happened to me, but now I know I can hire someone to help me get compensated if I’m injured on business property like that. 

I’ve been looking at attorneys’ websites, like this one that was very informative. The law office is called The Law Office of William J. Luse, and the firm is based in Myrtle Beach. It helped me learn more about personal injury claims and what to do if you are hurt.

I’m also taking more care to warn customers of potential slip and fall places at my restaurant. Most slip and falls don’t cause an injury, but if an elderly person falls down they could get severe bruises or even break a bone. I would hate to see that happen to one of our customers because we didn’t have a sign up to warn them. 


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Visiting Chicago? Here’s what you can do by the lake

Jan 17

Chicago is the 3rd largest city in the U.S. by population and one of the busiest, most prosperous and bustling cities in the nation. With a city of its size, there’s an endless number of things to do and enjoy around town no matter where you are. If you’re planning on visiting the city, the river and the lake have great attractions that you should make sure to check out. Visit the McCormick and River Roast docks to take a boat ride, or choose any of the other shoreline attractions that the Windy City has to offer.

If you’re near the McCormick docks, you have quite a few options for fun and interesting things to do. Not too far away is Chinatown, a very cultural part of Chicago that is bound to make your eyes widen. The restaurants, tea houses, dim sum spots, and cafes could keep you busy for a whole day, experiencing a very far away culture in a huge city. Even closer to McCormick is Soldier Field, where the Chicago Bears play. Even if you’re not a big football fan, the stadium is a sight to behold and offers excellent tours of the facility. There’s a lot of history in that stadium and a lot to explore and adventure there.

For those spending time near River Roast, there is plenty of exploring and sightseeing to be done there as well. The Chicago River is a gorgeous site in the city, with excellent tours that will wow you, your family, friends, co-workers and whoever else may be accompanying you. The skyline is visible from River Roast, and if you find just the right vantage point, you can see the skyline in its full glory. River Roast is a beautiful part of the city of Chicago, which is why Tour Through a Lens starts here. Tour Through a Lens is a tour focused around and geared toward interesting those who love photography. The tour guides you around the city to the most beautiful spots for the most magnificent panoramas and shots of the city. Also not too far away is Chicago’s House of Blues, one of the best places for enjoying nightlife and excellent music. River Roast is a happening place in Chicago, with many options and avenues for fun and adventure.

If you’re docking near the Sheraton Hotel, all the fun to be had is near you. You’re right near Millenium park, navy pier, and the Grand-Red subway station, giving you access to everything the great city of Chicago has to offer. The Sheraton Hotel itself is a sight to behold.

If you happen to be making your way down to Chicago near any of the docking areas like the ones here, the amount of fun and number of breathtaking explorations is limitless. Get out there and explore one of the greatest cities in the entire United States. With its deeply-entrenched culture and breathtaking history, you can’t go wrong by selecting Chicago as your choice for a vacation destination. 

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How Do Trusts Actually Work?

Sep 20

Contrary to popular belief, trust funds are not just for the wealthy and are an important part of estate planning. The lawyers at Peck Ritchey, LLC explain that trusts not only help minimize estate taxes but also allow loved ones to avoid the probate process. Living trusts, a trust set up by a lawyer when a person is alive, allow you to avoid probate because the assets and property placed “in trust” and managed by a trustee are already distributed to the trust. Probate occurs when a person dies with assets in their name only. For example, wills are used in probate.

According to lawyer Bonnie Kraham, trusts may have started as a tool of the wealthy but now are recommended for everyone to avoid probate. The American Association of Retired Persons (AARP) studied probate in 1991 and recommended that families use trusts rather than wills to avoid probate. Kraham argues that the “AARP study on probate started what is referred to as the ‘living trust revolution,’ when middle-class people started using trusts.”

What is the difference between a will and a trust? Compared to wills, trusts not only help avoid the probate process but also allow your trustee to distribute assets more quickly to your beneficiaries. Thus, you save time and money and avoid issues like family contention of the will. Trusts are also preferable to wills if you want to leave money to minors without court interference or if you want to wait for the beneficiary to receive the money outright at an older age. With money in a trust, health, education, maintenance and support expenses can be paid for, while a will or another method requires a judge to appoint a guardian paid with your money to protect the beneficiary’s inheritance. The beneficiary will also receive the inheritance at 18.  

Furthermore, a trust, unlike the probate process, is a private document, meaning the public does not know about your estate and your beneficiaries’ inheritance. During probate, anyone may review your probate documents and estate information.

Real estate, bank accounts, investments and other assets can be used to fund your trust, and the process only requires some simple paperwork. Some assets, like an IRA, cannot fund a trust, but these assets outside of the trust can also avoid probate with the help of your elder law estate planning lawyer.

If you cannot afford long-term care insurance, you may choose an irrevocable Medicaid Asset Protection Trust (MAPT) to protect your assets after five years from nursing home costs. MAPT has a five-year look-back period, meaning all the assets in the trust are protected if you need nursing home care after five years. If you need care before five years, you will only pay the remaining time.

Trusts are no longer just for the wealthy to avoid estate taxes; instead, they can be used to save time, money, complications; keep your affairs private; protect your assets from going to nursing home costs; and give you more control over how you leave your assets to your beneficiaries.   

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Can PCBs Cause Cancer?

Apr 23

A study from the United States Environmental Protection Agency has found a link between polychlorinated biphenyls with various health effects, one of which is non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma.

Exposure to this substance that can attack lymphocytes – which can be found in the immune system of a person – has been proven through the study of the effect of the chemicals with Rhesus monkeys, a species of monkeys that are 93% genetically compatible with human beings. The study between the monkeys and PCBs concluded with the severely affected thymus gland of the monkey. The thymus gland is responsible for the development and production of necessary hormones for the body and is highly susceptible in childhood (as it is more active in the body in the years before puberty).

There are, however, other such side effects that are attributed to exposure to these hazardous substances such as neurological defects by way of hindering things like visual recognition and learning. Exposure can cause be responsible for the rise in blood pressure or serum cholesterol, among other adverse health-related side effects. The same study regarding PCBs has stated that children born to women who have worked in factories dealing with PCBs had several decreases relating to their weight and gestation.

In 2013, Georgina Gustin of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reported that a Missouri jury may be able to decide that it was, in fact, the fault of PCBs manufactured by the Monsanto Company as the reason as to why certain people have acquired a particular kind of cancer. This was all brought to prominence when three different residents of California filed legal action against the Monsanto Company. The rest of the article can be found here: http://www.stltoday.com/business/local/pcb-case-against-monsanto-can-move-forward-appeals-court-says/article_157256ca-d886-58a5-baaf-b46029f4201a.html

The effects of PCBs are still felt as the company manufactured things like electrical equipment, food packaging, and paint, among many other things. These were not disposed of properly as a lot of the waste can still be found in large bodies of water, which not only causes severe environmental problems but it also contaminates the supply of food and water for people and animals alike.

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Some Common Questions about Selling Mineral Rights

Feb 13

Selling your mineral rights is a major decision that you should only make if you are in possession of the salient facts. Here are some of the common questions about selling mineral rights that you should ask from the get go.
Why would you want to sell your mineral rights?

The value of your mineral rights only kicks in when you exploit the minerals that may be there. You have no real way of knowing if there is anything worthwhile down there; it will depend on many factors. However, if there is a good chance that there is, such as you are in an area known to have rich deposits of oil, for example, then the only way to get it out is to mine it. Unless you have a mining company or know how to do it, this is usually the purview of development companies. Ergo, if you want to profit from your mineral rights, then you should sell them. An alternative is to lease them out, but that brings up a whole new set of questions.

Do you need someone to sell it for you?

You don’t need to get someone to sell your minerals for you. You can do it on your own by signing the proper documents, just like with any real property. However, there is no listing for the fair market value of mineral rights like surface land or cars, for example. You may have a hard time getting the full value out of your mineral rights when the time comes to sell it, or finding qualified buyers to make it easy for you. Companies like mineral auction houses take care of those problems by listing your mineral rights in their database. This is accessible to many qualified buyers that will then bid on the rights. This way, you are sure that you are getting the best possible price that the market can hold for your mineral rights.

What happens after I sell my mineral rights?

Once you sell your mineral rights, you will immediately get a significant lump of cash to spend as you want. However, you lose all control over how the mineral rights are used. If you own the surface rights, you should know that the mineral rights owner has a right to a reasonable portion of the surface land for their mining and development operations at any time. You will no longer have any profit that arises out of these operations, if any. However, if you sell at the right price, you should feel no regrets over this.

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