5 Ways to Avoid Legal Battles While Opening a Business

5 Ways to Avoid Legal Battles While Opening a BusinessStarting a business is an exciting opportunity and often marks a new chapter in life. However, there are inherent risks involved when embarking on this venture. To avoid potential legal issues upon startup, consider the following tips to avoid Florida Business General Liability issues.

Research Business Name- Ensure your business’ name isn’t already trademarked so as not to infringe on another’s name or domain. To guarantee the name is not already in use, do research on the internet and complete a trademark search via the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office. If you plan on expanding your business to other states, it is advised to determine if anyone has trademarked your business name in that location, as well. Lastly, ensure that the corresponding .com name is available.

Create Contract- If you offer services, have a lawyer write up business contracts for your clients. A simple contract can also be downloaded from a law based website such as FindLaw.com in the absence of a lawyer. The contract should include an explanation of pricing, a payment schedule, and establish consequences of late payments. It is also critical to mention the limitations of your liability as the business owner in the event your services are not performed to the customer’s satisfaction. Be sure to include a component that describes how any disputes will be resolved and an exemption from liability due to uncontrollable events.

Terms of Use and Privacy Policy- This agreement obliges users to abide by certain terms and conditions while using your website. This arrangement should include setting parameters for how your site should be used, mention liability limits and dispute settlement plans, and provide information on how refund and return policies work. In terms of privacy, it is crucial to inform the visitor what information the site collects and how it is used as well as disclosing how the information will be protected.

Realizing Tax Obligations- Operating a business requires many different tax responsibilities that need to be considered. Federal income tax, corporate tax, state income tax, payroll tax, self-employment tax, and sales tax are among the most common.

Protect Intellectual Property- Depending on the type of business you run, you might consider obtaining protection for your unique product or service. This includes patents which will prohibit imitators from infringing on your design. Trademarks can also be purchased to protect your original idea. If your work is creative, experts recommend copyrighting the material. Lastly, employees should sign a confidentiality agreement.

At Newman Crane, we understand the risks associated with starting a business. We offer comprehensive business solutions to cover each component of your company’s risk exposures. To learn more about our offerings and the industries we target, contact our specialists today at (407) 859-3691.

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Minimizing the Gender Gap in Manufacturing Industry

Minimizing the Gender Gap in Manufacturing IndustryWhile women make up approximately 50 percent of the workforce nationwide, the manufacturing industry only consists of an estimated 25 percent women. To reduce your Orlando Manufacturers Liability, consider the following perspectives of women in the labor force.

A Davenport, Louisiana manufacturing networking event brought attention to the lack of women in the industry. While the manufacturing industry employs more than 12 million people, leaders seek to recruit more female talent.

Cynthia Krist, Technical Plate Products Lead at ALCOA, attributed the dismal number of women in manufacturing to awareness. “I think probably a lot of it is its unknown to them. That’s why we reach out to the high school and middle schools to get them exposed to it and get them to come see what it’s all about.”

Krist works to educate and mentor young women on potential opportunities to excel in the industry. For example, Krist currently manages dozens of employees and has worked in manufacturing for over thirty years. She emphasizes that as the company has grown, so have her opportunities for advancement. As she reflects on her own success, she aims to promote the industry.

In terms of working to gain student interest, Lt. Governor Kim Reynolds told KWQC of Illinois, “For the younger kids, the individuals know that there’s an opportunity there and we want to get them the skills to fill it, and then to bring new people in.”

These efforts are bound to help reduce the gender gap in the manufacturing industry. At Newman Crane, we specialize in providing custom insurance solutions for your manufacturing business. For more information on how we can protect your trade, contact us today at (407) 859-3691.

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Missing Word Causes Reversal in Workers Comp Ruling

Missing Word Causes Reversal in Workers Comp Ruling

A workers compensation case that resulted from an injury at a company cookout has created headlines this week when the Supreme Court ruled in favor of the cop-op. The omission of one word caused the overturn and is demonstrating just how powerful phrasing on these policies can be. In the wake of this decision, verify you have an adequate Orlando Workers Compensation policy in place to protect your employees and your business.

John Jacobitz was injured at a 2010 cookout held by his employer, Aurora Cooperative. Jacobitz fell from the back of a pickup truck while helping to move a grill for use at the event and suffered permanent injuries. According to his lawyer, Jacob Steinkemper, Jacobitz stated “He’s completely and totally disabled. He’s getting Social Security disability, and that’s very minimal.”

The workers’ compensation court ruled that Jacobitz’s injury did characterize as workers compensation because he was injured during the course of employment at a company party. However, the Supreme Court overturned the decision.

Although the workers’ compensation court originally ruled in favor of the employee, the Nebraska Supreme Court reversed the ruling on July 10th in favor of the co-op. According to Insurance Journal, the Supreme Court argued that the standard for whether an employee is entitled to benefits when injured at a social event tied to employment is a “substantial direct benefit,” not simply a “substantial benefit.”

Justice Michael McCormack noted that the importance of a single word has a lot of significance and must be considered in the ruling. Aurora Cooperative’s lawyer, Patrick Guinan, noted that much more litigation needs to take place before the ruling can be finalized.

At Newman Crane, we understand the importance of an effective workers compensation policy. Although certain glitches like this can occur, it is important to protect your business and your employees. To learn more about our offerings, contact our specialists today at (407) 859-3691.

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Supreme Court to Rule on Workers Comp Constitutionality

Supreme Court to Rule on Workers Comp Constitutionality

The constitutionality of a workers compensation system of a Florida company has circulated through three separate courts since 2010. With each coming to a different conclusion, the Supreme Court is now being requested to intervene to make a final ruling. As the proceedings unravel, it is important to examine your own Orlando Workers Compensation policy and make sure the statutes are fair and in compliance with the law.

The original case involved a lawsuit filed by Julio Cortes who sued his employer Velda Farms due to an injury on the job while operating equipment. After several advocacy groups and a state government worker, Elsa Padgett, joined suit, the case gained more legal traction.

Padgett suffered complications from a workplace injury and was forced to retire. Padgett argued that the workers compensation agreement failed to grant her constitutional access to the legal system for accurate compensation and coverage. However, in 2013, Velda Farms argued that the case was moot and petitioned for the compensation sought after by the advocacy groups, as well as Padgett, be dismissed entirely.

The advocacy groups independently fought their case at the Florida 11th Circuit Court. Judge Jorge Cueto cited the unconstitutionality of the exclusive provision that workers compensation is the single remedy to resolve a claim and ruled in favor of Padgett. Cueto also argued against the 2003 policy that lawmakers created which decreased medical and wage-loss benefits for injured workers. Cueto claimed that this is no longer fair to modern workers in finalizing his decision.

The case was then appealed by the state court and sent to the Third District Court of Appeal shortly after, which ruled that the original intent of the lawsuit had been convoluted. They argued that the plaintiff’s accusations of the inadequacy of the workers compensation system which forced them to forfeit legal representation were now focused on other claims entirely. The justices cited that “the case lost (1) the essential elements of a justiciable “case or controversy,” (2) and identifiable and properly-joined defendant, and (3) a procedurally proper vehicle for the trial court’s assessment of the constitutionality…”

The ruling also included the possibility of the advocacy groups having financial interest in the potential award of the case and therefore assisting in the establishment of filing these claims. Although the partners of the appeals court view this ruling to be a victory for employers and employees, the Supreme Court will now review the case and determine the final ruling.

At Newman Crane, we understand the necessity of workers compensation to protect your employees and your business. Although there are potential risks that can stem from individual cases, we are dedicated to providing superior policies and service to help manage the financial stress of workplace injuries. For more information about our workers compensation offerings, as well as our other business solutions, contact us today at (407) 859-3691.

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Risks Associated with Building Owners

Risks Associated with Building Owners

As most Orlando building owners are aware, there are plenty of inherent risks involved with owning a business building. While it may prove lucrative to be the owner, there are risk factors to consider as the proprietor. In order to defend against potential legal claims and personal liability, be sure your FL Building Owners Insurance is intact. Let’s take a closer look at the common risks association with being a building landlord.

Personal Injury- Accidents in the workplace and third party injuries are an unfortunate part of owning a building. In the event an employee or anyone else is injured in your building, your insurance policy will cover damages and loss accrued from these incidents. The National Law Review states that these can include slips and falls, assault, environmentally unsafe conditions, and negligent hiring that leads to any degree of personal injury. Without an insurance policy, the owner is held financially liable for these damages.

Financial Responsibility- Faulty contractors, exposure to mold and asbestos, malfunctioning machinery, and poor workmanship can lead to potential litigation and financial damages that could fall on the building owner.

Environmental Damage- Building owners should be aware of the environmental risks they could face. If a site is contaminated upon acquisition, the new owner is likely going to be held liable for clean-up. Storing hazardous materials both above and underground can cause severe pollution and contamination of the soil and surrounding areas. What’s more, depending on the nature of the business, the building’s operations might be hazardous such as dry cleaning, car repair facilities, and gas stations. These factors can lead to unexpected financial responsibility and can create immense damages without the installation of an insurance policy.

At Newman Crane, we understand the scope of inherent risks building owner’s face. We offer customizable solutions at affordable rates to protect your property and your assets. For more information about our offerings, contact us today at (407) 859-3691.

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Ride-Sharing Accidents: Who is Held Liable?

Ride-Sharing Accidents Who is Liable

As Uber and other ride-sharing companies continue to work out the details of driver employment, more questions are being raised about the liability of certain circumstances involving these drivers. Most recently, an Uber was involved in an accident resulting in a passenger death and 3 other injuries. This raises the question, who is held liable for coverage should a wrongful death lawsuit occur? Although the regulations differentiate state wide, it is critical to obtain Orlando Commercial Auto Insurance in order to financially protect your business from possible damages and litigation.

In recent news, tragedy has struck in the ride-sharing world. A California accident raises awareness for the nationwide concern for Uber insurance liability for its drivers. Uber driver Frank Rugnetta was transporting two passengers home from a bar around 1:30 a.m. on July 7. Upon leaving the bar, 19 year old Porfirio Sandoval struck the driver’s side of the Uber vehicle, eventually resulting in the death of one passenger and injuring the other. Fortunately, California recently passed a law requiring ride-share drivers to have third-party liability insurance with $50,000 per person and $100,000 per accident when transporting a passenger. Additionally, Uber’s commercial auto insurance provides up to $1 million of coverage for underinsured or uninsured motorist accidents.

However, this issue ranges from state to state. Uber continues to fight the categorization of drivers as employees as opposed to freelance workers in order to save millions in operating costs. By classifying these drivers as freelance in the past, Uber was legally exempt from paying overtime, maternity leave, sick days, and providing health care or unemployment benefits. This, in turn, has vastly increased their profit margins. What’s more, Uber identifies itself as a technology company who licenses its application to drivers and facilitates the ride and claim not to be a taxi service.

This raises the question, who would be held liable for accidents while transporting a passenger and when traveling to get a passenger? The Florida Department of Economic Opportunity decided that Uber drivers are employees and is required to provide auto insurance for its drivers, regardless of its industry categorization. Uber maintains a business auto insurance policy in the state of Florida with policy limits of $1 million in liability coverage for uninsured and underinsured motorists. Uber is also compliant with state laws that require taxis to have limits of $125,000 per person for bodily injury, $50,000 for property damage, and $250,000 per accident.

This policy takes priority over personal auto insurance policies that are carried by the driver while not providing livery services through Uber.

At Newman Crane, we have a thorough understanding of the auto insurance industry and strive to provide comprehensive and affordable coverage. In the wake of this shift, be sure your company’s vehicles are insured to avoid similar claims and potential litigation. For more information, contact our specialists today at (407) 859-3691.

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