Chat with us, powered by LiveChat
 

Blog

I used to get made fun of as a kid.  I was the one who came to school with a backpack as big as I was, filled to its capacity with school supplies.  From pencils to gauze pads (just in case my pencil slipped when writing notes and I cut my hand, of course), I had it all tucked nicely into my scoliosis maker. I blamed it on my mom.  I told my snickering peers that she was overprotective and I had to lug around my “just in case” bag to keep her off my back.  But really, it was all me.  I was the epitome of a boy scout – always prepared no matter what situation I was in.  It was in my blood, and still is.

In medicine, we hear a lot about preventative care.   In matters of asset protection, doctors would do well to follow their own advice.  Physicians should prevent their assets from becoming vulnerable to a frivolous lawsuit.  Being sued leaves much more at risk than a medical practice. Injured parties are seeking compensation for injuries received and in many cases a civil action against the physician to prevent further malpractice by the medical professional. Personal assets of the physicians are always looked at as a possible means of receiving compensation. Personal assets come into play in one of two ways:
  • If a judgment exceeds your medical policy limit
  • If the action in question falls under one of the policy exclusions

In a prior job, I used to share a cubicle with a guy who hated everything. I wish that this were an exaggeration. This guy, who we’ll call Steve (because his name was Steve) was quicker to express a negative sentiment than the Grinch (and he was also slightly hairier). Steve was very unpleasant to be around, and was always pushing the limits of the company rules. And then, one day, he pushed too hard, and he was fired. He stormed out of the office, threatening to sue everyone he saw, and then he was gone. We’ve all got that co-worker. You know whom I’m talking about.

For even the most controlled persons, times may come when self-defense, or the defense of someone unable to protect themselves, may arise.  In these cases, the assumption is often that litigation for any violence would naturally not apply. However, you would be surprised how often assault and battery litigation could still stick.  Assault and battery is the combination of two violent crimes: assault, or the threat of violence; and battery, or the actual physical violence. The intention behind the actions is important.  Generally, it is only necessary for the defendant to have intent to do the harmful act (as opposed to an intention to actually do harm). Essentially, the act must be done voluntarily.  Even in cases of self-defense, an intention to do harm or to do a harmful act can result in assault and battery charges.

In a recent Washington Post article, it was cited that winning the $640M jackpot was so remote (1 in 176 million chance), that you had a better chance at the following:
  • You have a 1 in 1 million chance of getting hit by lightning, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.
  • There's a 1-in-a-few-million chance of the Earth getting wiped out by a large asteroid, a NASA spokesperson said.
  • You have a greater chance of having identical quadruplets than winning the Mega Millions jackpot. Odds are 1 in 13 million, according to an NBC report.
  • Scared of dying from a bee sting? Well, you have a 1 in 6.1 million chance of dying from one, according to the Harvard Center for Risk Analysis.

Most people recognize that Pit Bulls or Rottweilers are dangerous dog breeds. In fact there are many breeds considered dangerous. According to the CDC, the ten breeds that seem to bite the most frequently are: 1 Pit Bull 2 Rottweiler 3 German Shepherd 4 Husky 5 Alaskan Malamute 6 Doberman Pinscher 7...

In this day and age some people are what I like to call “sue-happy.”  Meaning that they will sue for just about anything.  Last year was no exception and 2011 brought 10 of the most ridiculous lawsuits to date.  These suits included a convict suing the couple he kidnapped for not helping him evade police, a woman sued because the “Drive” movie trailer did not contain enough actual driving, and another woman sued a store for $5 million because of a disagreement about an 80-cent refund. Yes, these are all for real, and you can check them out more at the link above.  These lawsuits conjure up all kinds of feelings of ridiculousness and absurdity, yet frivolous lawsuits occur all the time, and the worst part is that some of them actually come out victorious in court.

Human Resources.  It’s a living thing.  State and Federal rules and regulations combined with business protocol and best practices.  It’s a field that requires knowledgeable and determined professionals.  Usually the path to equitable solutions is clear.  But what about the time when implementing the reasonable accommodation under ADA crosses into the privacy regulations of HIPPA?  Or, federal exemptions regarding state statues cross paths under ERISA?  The truth is that the HR professional can become personally liable. Let’s talk about a few places where liability can creep in. Under the Immigration Reform and Control Act (IRCA) the law criminalizes knowingly hiring an illegal immigrant, along with financial and other penalties for employing them.  This act introduced the I-9 form to ensure that documentary proof of employability was provided, however there are plenty of methods potential hires have found in forging their documentation.  And, hiring personnel could still be found negligent in a possible case of employing an illegal immigrant.

If ever you’ve been present at a high school graduation, religious service, or third-grade spelling bee, you will have undoubtedly noticed a trend on the part of those speaking. The trend is to define the term on which they wish to focus their remarks by turning to Webster or Oxford or whatever dictionary they have closest at hand and then reading the precise definition. It’s an age-old practice that’s as annoying as it is predictable. Individual liability: A financial obligation for which an individual is responsible and which may be satisfied out of his or her assets (Business Dictionary). So why is individual liability of any concern to you, you ask? Well, allow me to ask you two basic questions:

Congratulations! You are open for business.  You've set up shop and hung out your shingle.  You have probably prepared yourself by purchasing an insurance policy. Unfortunately, in today's increasingly litigious society, a general or professional liability policy still leaves you exposed and vulnerable.   One statistic states that 19 million lawsuits are filed each year. If you own a business, investment properties, or are a professional, you may have a one in three chance of being named in a lawsuit. If you are named personally in a lawsuit for something your policy excludes, your personal assets become fair game– home, financial accounts, life insurance policies that have a cash value, real estate, businesses, cars, electronics, investment portfolios, collections of art, antiques, etc. Lawyers are expert at identifying gaps and exclusions in insurance policies and consequently will go after damages that exceed your policy coverage.  They will come to huff and puff until they blow your house, your bank account, and any other personal assets all down.  An additional insurance policy may be necessary to make sure you don't lose everything to the big bad wolf.