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Judge denies motion to dismiss in stuntman accident case

North Carolina residents who watch 'The Walking Dead" on television may know that a stuntman lost his life while an episode of the hit AMC show was being filmed in 2017. The stuntman died as the result of injuries he suffered in a fall, and a wrongful death lawsuit brought by his family claims that he would be alive today if AMC and a production company had not cut corners on safety.

AMC claimed in a motion to have the wrongful death lawsuit dismissed that they were not responsible for the accident because the stuntman had assumed responsibility for his safety before performing the stunt that led to his fall and subsequent death. However, that a Georgia judge found that argument unconvincing and denied the motion. The trail is scheduled to begin on Dec. 9.

Businesses don't always grow after an acquisition

It isn't uncommon for those who are looking to buy a business to believe that they can grow it rather quickly. However, this is a trap that buyers in North Carolina or elsewhere would be smart to avoid. This is especially true if a buyer doesn't have experience in the industry that a company occupies.

In many cases, the current owner of the company has tried to grow the business using some of the tactics that the buyer wants to employ. Therefore, it is likely that those ideas will fail or won't be as successful as a buyer thinks that they will be. Ideally, an individual who is looking to buy a company will first evaluate whether it can sustain its current success over the next several years.

Mistakes to avoid when selling a company

Market conditions may be ideal for business owners in North Carolina to sell their companies for maximum profit. However, there are key mistakes that they need to avoid when trying to do so. For example, it is a good idea to avoid trying to be a superhero when it comes to running the organization. A buyer will want to see that there are people and systems in place that will continue to function when the original owner is gone.

It may also be a good idea to have manufacturing, accounting or other important functions performed by employees as opposed to freelancers. While outsourcing may save a company money, it could also cause the business to rely too heavily on outside parties. Therefore, it might put a drag on the organization's potential to consistently grow in the future.

Safety concerns surround proposed changes to trucking regulations

Commercial truck drivers traveling the roads of North Carolina must comply with many federal safety regulations. Some trucking industry groups, like the American Trucking Association, support changes to existing rules, but they continue to face opposition. Bills circulating currently in the U.S. House and Senate could lower allowable ages for employment as long-haul truckers. In 2018, the Drive Safe Act failed to win congressional approval after the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety and the Owner-Operators Independent Drivers Association expressed concerns about inexperienced younger drivers.

Although age restrictions continue to be debated, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration has gone forward with a proposal for new hours of service rules. The agency continues to collect comments from the public regarding redefining a short-haul exemption to 150 air miles from 100 and allowing truckers to drive for 14 hours instead of 12.

Many U.S. truck drivers are sleep-deprived

Truckers in North Carolina know how prone they can be to drowsy driving. A Ball State University has looked at the percentage of working U.S. adults who get inadequate sleep and found an increase from 30.9% in 2010 to 35.6% in 2018. The study, which involved more than 150,000 working adults, was undertaken to find out which professions were most prone to sleep deprivation, and trucking was included among them.

More specifically, it was the transportation and material moving industry: In 2010, 32% of workers in this industry reported inadequate sleep (i.e., less than seven hours) whereas in 2018, the number was 41%. Though it is not as widespread as in the military and police force (50% of respondents) or the healthcare industry (45%), it was at the same level as those in production (41%).

The key steps to follow when selling a business

Financial issues or a lack of interest in being a business owner may be valid reasons to sell a company. However, it is important for North Carolina owners to create an exit strategy long before they want to leave their companies. The first step in selling a business is determining how much it is worth. Usually, companies will sell for a multiple of its annual cash flow, and it is not unusual for a professional to help appraise an organization.

The next step is to prepare for the sale itself, and this could mean getting rid of employees, selling inventory or otherwise making the company more attractive to buyers. Once the business is ready to be sold, it is time to consider who the right buyer is and who will help facilitate the transaction.

Finding opportunities by buying existing businesses

North Carolina entrepreneurs might dream of coming up with the next great profitable idea, but success more often lies in acquiring an existing business and taking it to new heights. The purchase of an existing business allows someone to tap into an operation that has already proven its concept to some extent. It has built a customer or subscriber base and achieved a financial track record. An existing business also provides the new owner with an established supply and distribution network.

The acquisition of a business that already possesses a foundation could give a buyer the opportunity to scale the concept. People who already own one or more businesses sometimes buy other companies to expand their operations. Instead of building a new product or service in-house, the owner buys a business that has the infrastructure in place to serve the desire for expansion. For example, Airbnb bought an event-booking platform based in Denmark when it chose to pursue the business of renting space for commercial or private events.

Safety concerns remain high with big rigs

Roadways throughout North Carolina and the rest of the nation are becoming safer. Each year, new technologies in vehicles lead to increased protections for drivers and passengers. However, concerns remain high regarding large semi-tractor trailers. This is because of the sheer size and mass of these vehicles. National Highway Safety Traffic Administration data shows that 4,761 people were killed in crashes that involved large trucks in 2017.

It's important to note that the trucking industry is heavily regulated by the federal government. Regulations cover a myriad of subjects, such as driver training, truck safety inspections, hours on the road, loading of the vehicle and many other topics. However, it's one matter to establish safety rules and another to follow them. Safety advocates claim that the truck drivers are the biggest factor in proactively avoiding big rig accidents.

Producers of David Spade show sued for wrongful death

North Carolina fans of comedian David Spade might be interested to learn that the producers of his new comedy "Lights Out" have been slapped with a wrongful death claim stemming from a deadly car accident involving a staffer on the show. The lawsuit was filed in Los Angeles Superior Court on Sept. 10.

On Aug. 1, an accountant for the Comedy Central series was driving his 2018 Infinity Q60S in the Fairfax District of Los Angeles at around 10:30 p.m. when he smashed into an Acura. The force of the collision pushed the Acura onto a nearby sidewalk and into a male pedestrian, who suffered blunt force trauma injuries and later died. According to the lawsuit, which was filed by the victim's parents, the accountant was "inebriated" when he struck the Acura and started the deadly chain-reaction crash. The suit further claims that Viacom, which is Comedy Central's parent company, production company Free 90 Media and others are responsible for the accident because they allowed the staffer to become intoxicated at the show's premiere party on the night of the crash and failed to stop him from driving his vehicle. The suit also alleges that Viacom encouraged employees to drive to the party by providing a valet parking service.

Strategies for selling a DME business

Some baby boomers in North Carolina and other states built their wealth with businesses that sell durable medical equipment, or DME, and as they enter retirement, they will be looking for ways to sell these businesses. Unfortunately, research shows that there will be far fewer buyers for these businesses than sellers. The Small Business Administration reports that about two-thirds of boomer-owned businesses won't be able to find buyers. There are, however, several strategies that can help these owners improve their chances of making a sale.

A smart move for some small businesses is to try and arrange a strategic acquisition. This is when a DME competitor or complementary business increases its market share by acquiring the company. Only the fastest growing and most profitable businesses will likely be chosen for acquisition. Another choice is to arrange a fire sale acquisition. This is when a business with relatively weak profits and growth is sold below market value in order to incentivize the acquisition.

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