Wednesday, April 04, 2007

Negligent Dancing (and other lurking workplace dangers)

A Chicago court is hearing a case based on an allegation of “negligent dancing”:
A Chicago woman is suing a man she claims flipped her into the air and dropped her on her head in a jitterbug-style dance move at a company event.

Her attorney, David M. Baum, said Prange should be accountable for the alleged injuries caused by "negligent dancing."
Why do I include this in a legal blog? First, because in scouring the internet for current legal topics I got drawn in by the headline.

But beyond the attention-grabbing caption, there are some legal lessons to be learned here.

For businesspeople, perhaps the most important is that your exposure to liability is probably greater than you think. Make sure to take the prudent steps to protect yourself and your company, including using the optimal entity (usually something that provides true limited liability protection, such as an LLC or corporation, not merely a certificate of assumed name filed with the county), always maintaining corporate formalities and keep your corporate records up to date to protect corporate integrity, and making sure you always have proper insurance in place, including any insurance needed for special events.

As usual, it all comes back to planning. Many hazards, such as the threat of being injured or exposed to liability as a result of a “negligent dancing” incident, are hard to predict. The best way to limit the damage from dangers, foreseen and unforeseeable, is to have the proper planning documents in place personally (such as a durable power of attorney, will, and medical power of attorney) and professionally (such as buy-sell agreement, fully funded by insurance, or a carefully drafted operating agreement). Don’t delay – contact your trusted attorney to start planning, or take a few minutes to review your plan, today.

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