How to Understand Family Law ?
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For anyone that is going through a divorce, then you need to try and make sure that you find someone to represent your interests. This is because in divorce cases there can be a lot of tricky legal issues to navigate around.
A family or divorce lawyer is going to give you a lot if you decide to hire them. Here are some things that a family or divorce lawyer can do for you.
A product liability lawsuit is very specific. It occurs when a product is either defective or dangerous in some way to the point it causes harm to the people who use it. For example, anytime you see a recall from a major vehicle manufacturer in which the news release says something the effect of “So many of this vehicle make and model are being recalled in wake of the startling revelation that the certain product inside the car is the cause of death of at least 7 people,” you can safely assume the manufacturer is facing a product liability lawsuit.
If the vehicle is being recalled voluntarily and no one was injured or killed, the chance a lawsuit is being filed is slimmer. This is not just a problem in the automobile manufacturing industry. From food to toys to every other product on the market, product liability laws are strict. If you are using a product created by a nonprofit organization and it causes harm, you could be entitled to damages from a product liability lawsuit.
What is product liability?
– Manufacturing defects
– Design defects
– Failure to warn
– Product recalls
– Breach of warranty
These are all common reasons people file product liability lawsuits. Each one is dangerous and has the potential to not only cause injury or harm but to also kill those who use the product. To file a product liability lawsuit, a consumer needs to sue the manufacturer of a product they are able to prove has harmed them or their family in some way.
A product with a manufacturing defect is dangerous whether it was manufactured by a nonprofit or a major Fortune 500 company. The premise of this problem is a mistake in the manufacturing of an object. For example, if a company manufactures a stroller for twins but accidentally uses screws that are too small, the stroller could fall apart when it’s being used and cause injury to the baby. It was a mistake made when it was being put together, which is what classifies it as a manufacturer defect.
If you want to file a product liability lawsuit citing manufacturer defect, you must be able to prove there was a defect caused in the making of this item. You must be able to prove you were injured, and you must be able to prove that this accident and injury only happened because the company that manufactured the item made a mistake. Otherwise, you would not have suffered this injury.
This is not like a manufacturer defect. A defective design occurs when an item is designed in a way that exhibits dangerous mistakes. For example, if a company designed a pair of sunglasses that don’t actually block the harmful UV rays from the sun, it’s a design defect. The design should have included a way to protect the eyes from those rays so that retina damage does not occur. If you want to file a lawsuit on this basis, you must be able to prove there was an injury and that the injury was directly caused because of a design flaw.
Failure to Warn
Have you ever looked at the back of a package of something you purchased and wondered why such silly warnings are included? For example, Tide Pods are being consumed by teenagers across the country right now, and it’s dangerous. Common sense says this is a terrible idea as Tide Pods are likely made of chemicals no human should ingest. You might wonder why the package reads “Warning: Do not eat,” but it’s because some people just don’t know.
If you decide you want to eat a Tide Pod and there is no warning on the back that it could kill you because of the many dangerous chemicals inside, it’s failure to warn. If the package tells you not to eat it and you eat it anyway, it’s your own fault if you suffer injuries.
The rest of these situations are easily defined. For example, if you realize that you bought a product made with asbestos, you could sue the company for using the ingredient knowing that it’s banned and not safe at all for humans to work with. If a product recall occurs, you know there is an item that could hurt you and you could sue. If the company who makes the item does not honor their own warranty and something happens to you, it could fall into a products liability category.
What You Should Do
There is not a right or wrong answer here. If you suffered injuries because you used a product that harmed you, it doesn’t matter where you got it or how it was made. You are injured because of a product design. If the product was made by a nonprofit organization, you can still sue the company under the realm of product liability. Anyone who takes it upon themselves to create a product and sell it must abide by the laws regarding manufacturing and design. If they fail to do so, they can be sued.
What you’ll get from a nonprofit depends on the success of the company as well as their own insurance company. If their product is properly insured, you can sue the company and deal with their insurance company. The insurance company might try to offer you a deal or a settlement to keep you happy rather than take the case to court, but the decision is ultimately yours.
Call an Attorney
If you are injured or harmed at all by a product designed by a nonprofit, call an attorney for help. You do have rights, and your attorney can help you figure out what those rights are. It’s easier to provide good advice when you know what the specifics of the situation are, and it’s easier for your attorney to move forward with a case when he or she knows what happened, who manufactured or designed the product, and which part of the numerous product liability laws this lawsuit might fall under.
Keep evidence, take pictures, and see a doctor if you are injured. You want to act quickly to be sure you are able to adequately use your evidence. Calling an attorney after you see a doctor is a wise decision, even if you only discuss the case with the attorney and decide you don’t want to move forward. A legal expert is always helpful in a legal situation, and this is no exception.
A nonprofit organization is one in which no profit is assumed by the company. All the proceeds are used to pay employees and the rest goes back into the pockets of others rather than the company itself, which is a fantastic situation. These are typically great organizations that are designed to offer help to those in need as well as benefit those who use the services of the nonprofit. It makes people wonder, though, what kind of liability a nonprofit has if they are employed by or volunteer for the organization and end up hurt on the job. With a traditional job with a for-profit company, the employee can sue for personal injury if their injuries are the result of negligence on behalf of their employer, but what does this mean for those employed by a nonprofit?
Can a nonprofit be sued for personal injury?
Personal injury is everywhere. Someone could fall over a cord that’s lying on the ground while they’re working for, volunteering for, or simply visiting your nonprofit office locations. That person can then sue the nonprofit for personal injury because the cord should not be lying haphazardly in the middle of the floor. A nonprofit can face a personal injury lawsuit whether you are an employee, a volunteer, or a visitor. If you’re considering a lawsuit against a company like this, it’s time for you to understand what it means to file a lawsuit of this nature, what you need to have on hand, and how it works.
Can I Sue for Personal Injury?
If you want to file a personal injury lawsuit against anyone, you need to be able to prove several things. You cannot just say you’re injured, file a lawsuit, and walk away with a large payout from the company. You must be able to prove several key factors:
– You were injured. This is the most important thing you must prove if you plan on filing a personal injury lawsuit. You must have an injury, you must have a doctor’s note confirming your injury, and you must be willing to provide access to the medical records pertaining to your injury since your accident.
– You must be able to prove the nonprofit had a duty to care. This means the nonprofit owes you a duty of care to keep you safe when you are on the premises.
– You must be able to prove the nonprofit breached that duty of care and it resulted in your injuries. It is imperative you are able to prove their breach of duty directly caused you to suffer an injury.
Once you’ve been injured, you must seek medical care immediately. Waiting too long to see a doctor could allow the nonprofit to argue perhaps your injuries are not as serious as you claim, that they were caused by something that happened later and elsewhere, or that they are not to blame for your injuries. Furthermore, your own personal health is reliant upon your visit to the doctor. If you don’t notice a bodily injury, you could still suffer from internal injuries that cause you excessive health issues later.
What Happens after My Injury?
Once you suffer an injury and you contact a doctor, you want to speak to a personal injury attorney. It’s possible to represent yourself in this situation, but it’s never recommended. The laws are strict regarding personal injury lawsuits anywhere you live, and you need to focus on your health and rehabilitation. Your attorney will speak to you regarding your case, help you figure out what to do next, and help you understand how the entire process works.
You could be entitled to damages from the nonprofit if it is their fault you are injured. For example, if you were working for a nonprofit in a building that’s got several leaks. The nonprofit keeps putting off fixing these leaks despite numerous complaints by employees and volunteers and you slip and break your leg, the nonprofit is negligent. You could sue them for damages such as the following:
– Medical expenses from the injuries you suffered
– Pain and suffering
– Lost wages
– Inability to earn the same income
Every case is different. The damages to which you are entitled might differ from the damages someone else is entitled to for a similar accident. You will need to prove that you suffered damages from this accident, but that is an easy task when you have injuries. Your attorney will also help you with the paperwork and the process of handling the insurance company that represents the nonprofit.
For example, you might be asked to sign medical release forms and think nothing of it. You sign those forms and the insurance company is now free to access your medical records, But you might not realize they are free to access your medical records from birth forward. This is their way of trying to figure out if you have any prior medical problems that might make you more susceptible to your injuries. They can argue you had a pre-existing condition that caused your injury rather than the nonprofit’s actions.
You must provide the insurance company with your medical information pertaining to anything that happened since the accident, but you are not required to sign a medical release providing the company access to your lifelong medical records. Your attorney can advise you when you’re being scammed into making poor decisions.
Call an Attorney
You can sue a nonprofit, but you must be able to prove what happened to you is their fault. You cannot sue them if you were not injured because of their negligence, and you cannot sue them if the issue you faced was your own fault. Let’s use the previous example. The nonprofit for which you work has several leaks anytime it rains, and they simply haven’t been able to get it fixed because the contractor hasn’t had time to get the materials in place. The company works to make sure everyone knows there are slick wet floors by placing signs by every leak, taping the areas off, and sending out an in-office memo. If you ignore those signs and the tape, slip and fall and break your leg, the nonprofit is not to blame.
You are to blame, and you cannot sue. Your attorney will tell you this when you call to make an appointment, and they will help you understand why. You do have rights as a person injured at your place of employment, but only within the realm of the law. If you think you can sue a nonprofit for your injuries to help you cover the cost of the medical bills you’re incurring, call an attorney to discuss your rights.
A cornerstone of running any non-profit is the ability to raise money in creative and engaging ways that garner donations and support. A common idea for fundraising events is to create an atmosphere of occasion by offering alcoholic beverages in the form of liquor, wine, and beer. Some organizations see it as an opportunity to raise additional funds through alcohol sales. Others offer adult beverages to attendees so that they are likely to feel – ahem – more generous with their wallets when it comes to making contributions.
Sounds like a win-win for both sides, right? No matter the tactic or motivation, a serious discussion about the offering of alcoholic provisions as a public organization is in order – particularly from a legal aspect. Many board members are keenly aware of the ramifications that may cause the organization, its reputation, and trust fund to fall into complete ruin. Not to mention that the community is losing a valuable, public service.
Examples of potentially hazardous and liability-causing alcohol-fueled incidents may include:
– guests drinking well-above the legal limit, driving home, and getting into a fatal accident;
– social incidents that involve public fighting and someone is knocked unconscious;
– guests walking home, swaying excessively, and being arrested for public drunkenness; or
– even worse.
Considering the scenarios above, who is really at fault for potential fatalities, hospital bills, and legal fees? Many assume the responsibility lies in the hands of the individual who imbibed beyond the legal limit. Unfortunately, it is not always so cut-and-dry.
After weighing the pros and cons, many nonprofit leaders wonder exactly where the organization’s liability ends and personal responsibility begins. On one hand, there is a need to make money to fund new projects and meet budget expectations. On the other, is it really worth it to offer a meaningless beverage when so much is at stake?
A RULE THAT APPLIES NO MATTER WHAT
Let’s start with the basics. Some call this the “Golden Rule of serving alcohol.” While it may seem obvious, it’s important to stress. Never serve alcohol to anyone underage the age of twenty-one. Government-issued IDs must be checked at any event where alcohol is consumed or sold. Remember: there isn’t a good excuse for a group of adults to allow a minor to obtain alcohol at the event, whether the host was aware of it or not.
In the next section, we will take a look at some important choices to be made prior to serving alcohol at an organization’s next fundraiser or social gathering.
STEP #1: UNDERSTAND STATE LAWS CONCERNING SOCIAL HOST LIABILITY
By having a basic understanding of social host liability laws, you’ll have a pretty clear understanding of what your options are. Check out your state’s Social Host Liability Laws here (see page 44 – column one ONLY). The University of North Carolina has listed social host liability laws by state so that you will have an immediate understanding as to what responsibilities are expected of hosts.
State laws fall into one of two categories: hosts are forbidden from serving intoxicated people or the host is not subjected to any liability at all. Make sure you know which category your state falls into and begin planning from there.
STEP #2: DECIDE IF THE ORGANIZATION WILL SELL ALCOHOL OR OFFER IT COMPLIMENTARY TO GUESTS
Once you start selling alcohol in exchange for cash at a fundraiser, you become subject to alcohol sales laws as set forth by your state and federal government restrictions. This usually involves purchasing a temporary liquor license, receiving state-mandated training, and an initial purchase to stock the bar with liquor, mixers, beer, and wine. It would also be wise to consult a lawyer to help you navigate the intricate legalities. This cost is far too great to justify for most organizations.
As stated above, you may be liable for serving alcohol to visibly intoxicated participants, even as limited, complimentary offerings. For example, many all-volunteer fundraisers will offer guests a self-serve wine table. Since your organization is responsible for self-serve consumption, that means your event hosts will need to have a volunteer or member from the organization to act as the “server,” by actively checking IDs and looking for signs of intoxication in party-goers. It’s imperative that these volunteers do not consume any alcohol themselves.
Next, a strategy to prevent unsavory actions at your event, in the future, or in the courtroom will be discussed.
STEP #3: SEGMENT YOURSELF FROM SOCIAL HOST LIABILITY
The problem with selling alcohol or giving it away is that the liability of serving alcohol is typically placed on the shoulders of the nonprofit organization. One could argue that this is a type of business, in particular, that cannot open itself up to the stress and cost of defense litigation. Therefore, the next logical solution in creating a balance is to place legal “barriers” between the organization and the consumer.
This is achieved by employing tactics that will allow guests to enjoy themselves while the organization feels protected. The barriers put into place will be determined by considering the organization’s adversity to risk, the local community, and the budget available. Consider discussing this at your next board or executive committee meeting.
Here are a few ideas that may help a nonprofit feel like there are a few controls in place that ensures people are safe while having a lot of fun raising money:
Passively Limiting Consumption
There are a number of ways that politely let patrons know that it is okay to drink alcohol responsibly, such as offering a few “drink tickets” to each participant. One ticket is redeemable for one drink. You can also limit the hard stuff to beer and wine: no liquor.
Use Bar Hosting Services
Pass the liability buck by hiring a bar to host the event. As a licensed bar, they assume responsibility of all alcohol sales and liabilities. Hint: some bars will even donate a portion of sales to your event.
As you can see, there are a number of ways to navigate the legalities of organizing a safe, fun event for everyone involved. Remember: when in doubt, consult an attorney – they have your best interest at heart. Happy fundraising!
Nonprofits are a backbone of the modern American economy. They provide help to millions of Americans and serve as a safety net in addition to government programs. Many of them have a ubiquitous presence after national disasters and throughout the holiday season. There are also misconceptions about their size and their relationship to money. In fact, nonprofits are more similar to for-profit corporations than many people realize. A particularly thorny similarity is bankruptcy. Nonprofit bankruptcy is a real possibility and one that all nonprofit owners should be familiar with.
There is a certain stereotype attached to nonprofits that mirrors that of charities and religious institutions. These institutions are seen as labors of love staffed by volunteers and running off of handouts and donations. Money does not seem to be a concern for these individuals and the idea of making money and paying bills is rarely attached to their image in the minds of most people.
Many nonprofits could not survive without volunteer labor and donations. However, that does not mean nonprofits have no sort of financial incentive for their operations. Indeed, many common nonprofits have stores that sell goods and services and employees that are paid wages. At that level, a nonprofit is subject to all of the same pressures and rules associated with for-profit companies.
Nonprofits and Bankruptcy
To that end, a non-profit can definitely file for bankruptcy. Many financially-oriented nonprofits are similar in many ways to for-profit companies. They both bring in revenue and have a list of expenses. For-profit corporations often bring in large amounts of debt in order to fuel expansions and meet bills in lean times. Nonprofit corporations do not take on as much debt because their budgets are lean and their business model is focused on spending as much money as it has instead of making as much money as possible. But nonprofits have financial pressures that lead them to take on debt.
For instance, a nonprofit may have a large piece of real estate that they have to make monthly rent payments to and a large workforce that they have to pay wages for. The individuals in that workforce may make considerably less than their counterparts in the for-profit sector. However, they still need to get paid on a regular basis. A nonprofit’s business model may be split between a store that they run, staffed by former inmates, and a yearly telethon. The nonprofit may make business decisions based off of strong sales at the store and a strong showing for the telethon.
But stores can have variable sales that rise and fall due to weather, changing traffic patterns, or shifting consumer tastes. At the same time, the yearly telethon is no guarantee. The telethon may not be carried on as many television stations as the nonprofit had hoped. A particularly generous donor may not have the funds to contribute this year. The nonprofit, as a result, has to take on debt.
Therefore, the cause for bankruptcy applies to both types of companies equally. Both forms of corporations risk bankruptcy when they do not have the income to pay off their debts, and do not have a reasonable plan to pay those debts that satisfies the needs of their creditors. While this issue is rare for nonprofits, it definitely occurs.
The Bankruptcy Process
The different forms of bankruptcy apply in the case of a nonprofit. There is the possibility of a Chapter 11 bankruptcy. In Chapter 11 bankruptcy, a nonprofit sells some of its assets and restructures its debts to the satisfaction of its creditors. Chapter 11 bankruptcy has a complex structure that grants a certain amount of protection to the corporation involved. There is a period of time where companies are protected from their creditors and not forced to meet payments.
Then, the bankruptcy court restructures debts and pays off certain creditors first. Resulting assets are then protected and a plan is devised to pay off creditors to the best of the ability of the company in question. With nonprofits, there is a considerable chance that the company will be able to emerge from Chapter 11 bankruptcy. Nonprofits often attract charitable contributions and companies or financial institutions that believe in their purpose. These groups want the institution to continue its work. As a result, they will often settle on more favorable terms than they might settle for in a proceeding with a for-profit company.
Chapter 7 bankruptcy, on the other hand, is a total liquidation. The company sells all of its assets and a court decides what creditors get paid with the remaining funds. There is a similar process of priority. Certain debts such as wages and contracts are paid off first. Then, individuals with secured loans, debts, and bonds are paid off next. The entity liquidates and does not legally exist afterwards.
Chapter 7 bankruptcy is extremely rare for a nonprofit. In cases where the failure of a nonprofit is clear and imminent, Chapter 7 bankruptcy may be the best approach. In all other cases, the new settlement that results from Chapter 11 bankruptcy may be helpful and allow a nonprofit to survive.
A nonprofit that is considering bankruptcy must look at its finances and its potential future as an entity. There is the possibility that bankruptcy might allow a nonprofit to restructure its debts and become more financially viable over time. However, this is a double-edged sword for any nonprofit. Nonprofits thrive on their reputation and their brand. The public needs to be able to trust that their money will be spent responsibly and on the task that the nonprofit is committed to.
Nonprofits need to be treated with the same level of care and attention as for-profit corporations. Their accounting and finances need to be handled by experienced professionals. While nonprofit work is a labor of love in many ways, bankruptcy can harm a nonprofit’s mission and lead to its untimely end. Becoming more familiar with bankruptcy can help nonprofit owners realize the financial implications of their organization and make better decisions with its money.