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Britton Law Blog

Lawsuit filed after daughter dies from brain-eating amoeba

On June 19, the family of an 18-year-old girl filed a lawsuit against a North Carolina outdoor recreational park after she contracted meningoencephalitis and died. This disease is caused by the Naegleria fowleri amoeba, an organism that eats brain tissue.

The Naegleria fowleri amoeba is commonly found in warm, fresh water. Generally, the amoeba does not cause illness and cannot infect a person if it is accidentally swallowed or drunk. In order to cause harm, the amoeba must enter the body through the nose.

Business brokers bring buyers and sellers together

North Carolina business owners have a great deal of loyalty to their enterprises. Those who establish and operate businesses in the state devote much of their time to the endeavors, and when it comes time to sell, they want to get fair value for their efforts. Selling a small business, though, is not always easy. In many cases a business broker can help facilitate the sale by bringing buyers and sellers together. There are several things a business owner should consider before hiring a business broker.

Just as the buyer of a business should perform due diligence, so should a seller examine the background, credentials and experience of a broker. The International Business Brokers Association can be a valuable resource for business owners. It is a non-profit business brokers trade association with more than a thousand intermediaries worldwide.

New regulations set national standards for truck driver training

Prospective truck drivers in North Carolina and around the country will receive training according to standards set by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration. The new rules became effective on June 5, 2017 after a five-month delay imposed by the Trump administration. The training standards will apply to applicants who receive their commercial driver's licenses on or after Feb. 7, 2020.

In the meantime, truck driver training academies and training operations run by trucking companies will update their programs to meet the new curriculum standards. The new rules call for behind-the-wheel instruction and FMCSA certification of trainers. Trainers meeting the new requirements will be placed on a registry of qualified trainers that CDL applicants must go to.

Ways to finance the purchase of a business

Anyone looking to purchase a business in North Carolina will naturally have concerns about financing. On top of the upfront capital costs, there may be requirements for real estate leasing or purchase, capital improvements and costs to keep on employees and maintain inventory. There are a few typical methods of financing the acquisition. The choice of these can rely as much as on the seller as the buyer.

Seller financing is a popular option when it comes to buying and selling businesses. On the seller's side, it may mean a better price and a faster closing. The buyer benefits by having a previous owner with an obvious stake in the continued success of the business. If the company were to fail, after all, the seller would be left with unpaid debt or a set of unwanted liabilities.

How the insurance industry is taking big steps to reduce truck accidents

Insurance companies may play a critical role in the ongoing campaign to make America's roads safer - especially when it comes to deadly truck accidents.

Trucks kill nearly 4,000 people each year, according to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety. These crashes cost insurers money. Even a single catastrophic accident can result in losses that number well into the millions of dollars.

Annual commercial truck inspection focusing on tie-downs

North Carolina truck drivers likely know that the annual International Roadcheck inspection conducted by the Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance is to run from June 6 to June 8. The inspections were taking place in all states as well as across Canada. Prior to the beginning of the inspection event, the CVSA released a flyer that provided tips for proper cargo securement.

According to the CVSA, the inspectors will make a point to check cargo securement in addition to normal Level 1 inspections. Inspectors will ensure that the load or the equipment that the commercial truck is hauling is properly secured. Tie-downs will also be inspected to ensure there is no wear or damage that could make them unsafe or dangerous to use.

Market research can be crucial for small businesses

Most major companies spend large amounts on market research and testing prior to launching new products or services, but entrepreneurs in North Carolina and around the country often devote little time and few resources to these efforts before opening their commercial ventures. Market research is basically due diligence for business ideas, and it can provide entrepreneurs with inspiration and insights as well as valuable data.

New business owners may be able to avoid many of the pitfalls of entrepreneurship by avoiding areas where competition is fierce, but they should always proceed with caution as wide open markets could indicate weak demand. Entrepreneurs may also be wise to study the strengths and vulnerabilities of their competition. This information can then be used to develop marketing strategies and create unique selling propositions for new business ventures. Keeping track of the activities of competitors can also be a valuable source of new ideas.

Underride guards on the sides of trailers promote safety

Commercial truckers in North Carolina that are concerned about driving safety should know that recent tests indicate that side underride guards for trailers can reduce the risk of injury and death in the event of an accident. These tests were conducted in early 2017 by IIHS, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety.

These experiments showed that underride guards that were mounted to the sides of a trailer were able to provide nearly the same degree of safety as those mounted to the back. Regulations requiring straight truck configurations and trailers to have rear-mounted underride guards installed are going through the regulatory process. The IIHS states that the results of its study confirm that there should also be requirements for side-mounted underride guards.

Important questions for potential business buyers

Buying a business is a major step for a North Carolina entrepreneur. That's why buyers should be fully informed before making such a purchase.

For starters, buyers should ask the seller why they are selling their business. While this may seem inappropriate and abrupt, the question can be asked tactfully. How this question is answered could affect the entrepreneur's decision to buy the property and how much they are willing to pay for it.

Due diligence advice when shopping for a business to buy

The acquisition of existing internet businesses gives North Carolina residents opportunities to run companies that are already generating revenue instead of starting up a new venture. Purchasing one, however, requires due diligence with the most important aspect being a careful examination of the financial records of the company.

The seller should willingly share with a potential buyer records such as bank statements, profit and loss reports and tax returns. These records should reveal the cash flow and profits of the entity. Requesting the tax returns is especially important because a seller would have greater difficulty hiding information on these filings whereas other business records might report inflated revenue. A seller who rushes someone through the financial analysis might have something to hide and should be avoided. A seller offering a legitimate business will understand that the buyer needs time to review financial records.

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