4 Things Small Business Owners Do?That Can Cost Money, Time, and Potential Legal Liability
by Shannon Mandel, Esq.??
?As a small business owner, you are likely looking at ways to save money and maximize your profits.? There are some common things that you can do in operating your business that will help you in these efforts.???
1. ?Not using your proper name in business. ?One of the benefits of filing as either a corporation or limited liability company is that you,?the owner, are limited from the liabilities of your business.? However, some businesses incorporate, but then forget to only use that name.? Signing contracts for your business under your personal name or a trade name that is not properly filed?could lead to you assuming the liabilities that should remain solely with your business.? A business attorney with our firm can assist you in reviewing your incorporation paperwork to ensure that future contracts and materials related to your business are set up to keep you from assuming those business debts.????
2. Commingling personal and business funds. ?Once your company has been created, one of the first things you need to do is set up a business bank account.? Then, make sure all money to the business goes solely into that account, and keep it separate from your personal finances.? Make sure that customer payments are always addressed to the business and not you personally.? Payments from the business to you as the owner should be clearly identified as either salary or distributions in profits. Businesses that commingle business funds with the owner’s personal funds can lose the liability protection that comes from incorporating with the state, and?the owner?could be personally liable for the debts of the business.????
3.? Misclassifying employees as independent contractors.? Many business owners do not understand the difference between an employee and an independent contractor. This is an area where there is not a clear definition and the consequences of misclassification are very detrimental to?business owners.?? Business owners may be liable for unpaid wages, overtime, employment taxes, and other penalties if an employee was paid as an independent contractor.? Business owners should consult with one of our expert attorneys on these matters to ensure everyone working for the business is classified and paid properly.????
4. Waiting too long to collect on outstanding accounts.? Lots of businesses try to give the benefit of the doubt to long term customers.? However, businesses that wait months or even years to collect, especially if customers are allowed to continue to charge on accounts, could be left holding a large unpaid debt if the customer disappears, goes bankrupt, or is otherwise uncollectible.? Clients with small business accounts can utilize their benefits to send collection demand letters at no cost; and,?if necessary, receive additional assistance if a customer must be sued in order to collect on an account.???Our?attorneys are available to help you with any and all questions related to running your small business. We hope these tips will help your business thrive.
MOTORCYCLE LAW GUIDE??
by Frank Parker, Esq.???
The law in Georgia requires D.O.T. approved protective headgear for both riders and passengers of motorcycle and trikes, regardless of age or insurance coverage, unless they are riding in an enclosed cab structure. ?This requirement is codified at O.C.G.A. ?40-6-315(a) and (d).
Section (a) states that “no person shall operate or ride upon a motorcycle unless he or she is wearing protective headgear, which complies with standards established by the commissioner of public safety.”
Section (d) states that “the commissioner of public safety is authorized to approve or disapprove headgear and eye-protective devices required in this code section and to issue and enforce regulations establishing standard and specifications for approval thereof. The commissioner shall publish lists of all protective headgear and eye-protection devices by name and type, which has been approved by it.”
??Of course, this is a minimum legal standard, and our firm recommends protective gloves, boots, safety glasses or shield, jacket and pants as well. ?Follow our MOTORCYCLE LAW GUIDE in future issues of our firm newsletter for more tips on motorcycle safety. ???
A client was involved a serious car crash while on the job. Ultimately, the client recovered nearly $450,000.00 in settlements for personal injury and workers? compensation claims for his injuries.????
A client was pregnant when she was involved in a severe car crash. ?After extensive negotiation and pretrial litigation, our attorneys were able to settle the case.? The opposing insurance companies agreed to pay combined settlements totaling $575,000.00.
??A small business owner contacted our office for assistance after receiving a demand letter from an attorney representing a former employee who was seeking unpaid overtime compensation and damages in excess $80,000.00 as a domestic service employee. ?The employee was occasionally required to stay at the client?s home and provide care in overnight situations.? Our attorney responded to the demand letter by pointing out the factual inaccuracies and providing applicable documentation in defense of the claimant’s demands.? In the interest of resolving the matter without time-consuming and costly litigation, and while denying liability, a $3,000.00 settlement was offered and accepted, saving our client almost $80,000.00.