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Lawsuit filed over Legionnaire's disease outbreak

North Carolina residents may have read media reports about a recent outbreak of Legionnaire's disease at an Atlanta hotel. The Georgia Department of Public Health has reported that one person has died as a result of the outbreak and a further 63 probable cases have been identified. A 67-year-old man who says that he contracted the disease while photographing a conference between June 27 and July 1 has filed a lawsuit against the Sheraton Atlanta Hotel. His attorney says that his client became sick because the hotel failed to adequately monitor and maintain its freshwater system.

Legionnaire's Disease is a serious lung infection caused by a kind of bacteria that is found in freshwater like streams and lakes. The bacteria becomes dangerous when it finds its way into building water systems where it can grow and spread. Symptoms of the disease, which can be fatal if left untreated, include shortness of breath, coughing, fever and chills.

Things to consider when buying an existing business

North Carolina residents who would like to work for themselves can either launch a new commercial venture, buy a franchise or purchase an existing business. All of these options have their drawbacks. Starting a business from scratch is the riskiest approach and obtaining startup financing can be difficult. Buying a franchise is less risky, but quality franchises are usually expensive and franchise operators do not have the same freedom as entrepreneurs who are not bound to a corporate master. Purchasing an existing business may seem like the safest choice, but even this approach is not without risk.

The first question prospective entrepreneurs should ask in this situation is why is the business for sale? Commercial ventures are sometimes put on the market because their owners are retiring or moving to another part of the country, but they may be available because they are struggling or a serious problem is looming on the horizon. Thorough due diligence can get to the bottom of this question and it should not be overlooked.

U.S. House considers automatic emergency braking bill for trucks

On July 17, two members of the U.S. House of Representatives introduced a bill that would make automatic emergency braking systems standard on all new commercial large trucks sold in the US. The purpose of the legislation is to reduce injuries and deaths from truck accidents in North Carolina and across the country.

The National Safety Council reports that there were 4,657 fatal crashes involving commercial motor vehicles in 2017, which represents a 9% increase from 2016 and a whopping 45% spike since 2009. The Safe Roads Act of 2019, introduced by Reps. Jesús García, D-IL, and Hank Johnson, D-GA, touts AEB technology as "a simple, common-sense solution" to America's deadly truck accident problem. Johnson, who sponsored similar legislation in 2011 and 2015, says that AEB systems could prevent "countless" injuries and deaths per year. The Truck Safety Coalition, the Advocates for Highway and Auto Safety and other traffic safety organizations support the measure.

Fatal crash involving Tesla Model 3 leads to wrongful death suit

North Carolina drivers who are interested in semi-autonomous cars should know that these vehicles are still far from entirely safe. There have been several fatal car crashes involving Tesla's semi-autonomous cars, and the latest has led to a wrongful death lawsuit. This lawsuit was announced on Aug. 1 and will be filed in Palm Beach County, Florida.

The family is asking $15,000 in damages for the death of a man who, back in March 2019, collided with a big rig while driving a 2018 Tesla Model 3. The crash resulted in the car's roof being sheared off. The decedent had engaged the Autopilot 10 seconds before the crash, and his hands were no longer detected on the steering wheel from about eight seconds before the crash.

Benefits of truck safety tech can clearly offset the cost

The American Transportation Research Institute has an article on the six most important research topics for 2019, and one of them is has to do with the benefits of new truck safety technology. In particular, ATRI wants to revise the way it determines the technology's return on investment. Many fleet owners in North Carolina avoid safety devices because of their steep price, and a better cost-benefit analysis may help such people warm up to them.

Truck safety devices include lane departure warning, collision avoidance systems and automatic emergency braking. While experts have shown that these devices can prevent accidents and save lives, it is another matter to determine their ROI because one must factor in exactly how many accidents were prevented: an impossible task.

The risks of not treating sleep apnea

It isn't uncommon for commercial truck drivers to experience a condition called obstructive sleep apnea. Drivers who have the condition are five times more likely to be in an otherwise preventable crash compared to those who have sought treatment for it. In addition to putting their own health and safety at risk, they could be putting other North Carolina road users at risk as well.

Generally speaking, a passenger vehicle will suffer more damage than a commercial vehicle when the two collide. This is because commercial trucks can weigh up to 80,000 pounds when fully loaded. One Minnesota truck driver who had sleep apnea was taken into custody for killing another person after blacking out while operating his vehicle. Despite the risks that sleep apnea can pose, there is no federal mandate to get screened for the condition. Groups such as the Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association oppose a formal mandate. However, a driver's doctor can decide if a screening is necessary.

Why business plans are essential for entrepreneurs

Starting a company in North Carolina or anywhere else can be easier by creating a plan. The plan will ideally account for the potential competitive advantages that it will have as well as how to fund the company. Those who are starting a business after being laid off may use their former employer's plan for inspiration. However, it can also be a good idea to talk with other small business owners to see how their plans are structured.

It is important to note that a plan should be flexible and relatively easy to change as needed. It is not uncommon for family members or other close contacts to serve as initial investors in a business. They can also offer their expertise or emotional support to individuals who are starting a company. Individuals who don't have family or friends to support them may want to find a mentor within the business community itself. Entrepreneurs who are seeking capital from outside sources may need to hire an attorney to help complete an investment deal.

The challenges business owners face when selling their companies

Many business owners in North Carolina and throughout the nation have dreams of selling their companies and using the money to live an elevated lifestyle. However, it is important to consider how and when to sell a company to maximize its sale price. It is also important to consider how to manage the money acquired in that transaction.

Ideally, business owners will make their company look good to buyers whether they plan to sell or not. This is because buyers routinely make unsolicited offers for companies that are performing well. Those who are planning to sell their companies should prepare financial statements that are free of personal expenses or loans to family members and friends. These statements should also try to adhere to Generally Accepted Accounting Principles. Selling a business generally requires arranging a team of professionals, such as an attorney, financial adviser and someone with an insurance background.

Bill proposed that may mandate AEB for commercial trucks

Members of the Truck Safety Coalition, a nonprofit organization, have been pushing lawmakers to improve current safety regulations on commercial trucks. North Carolina residents should know that, in particular, they are calling for a law requiring automatic emergency braking on all commercial vehicles.

On Tuesday, July 16, 2019, lawmakers introduced just such a bill. Entitled the Safe Roads Act of 2019 and also known as H.R. 3773, it would require AEB systems for all new and old CMVs and lay down guidelines for their use while the vehicles are in operation. The Secretary of Transportation would be the one to handle this if the bill is passed.

Checking numbers when buying businesses

People in North Carolina who want to purchase a business should do their due diligence to determine the actual financial state of the business they are considering. This requires conducting a thorough financial analysis on the business to determine if the numbers that were advertised or provided by the seller coincide with the numbers in the financial statements.

There are many reasons there can be discrepancies in the numbers. They can include expenses being cut out to prepare for a sale, unjustified add-backs or poor recordkeeping. Buyers should never rely solely on the seller's assertion of what the business numbers are.

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