Thursday, October 1, 2015

Trick or Treat? A few safety tips to keep Halloween fun.

Halloween is a fun time of year for many people. Trick or treating, games, fairs, parties and other celebrations kick off the holiday season.

Staying safe and having fun are not incompatible goals on such a great night.

First, if you have been drinking, don't drive. Call a cab, get a sober friend, or find the number to MADD or SADD for your area. Some of the MADD or SADD local groups operate a taxi service to pick you up and take you home only if you have been drinking and need a lift.

Second, don't text and drive. It's Halloween, you want to post the photo of you in your costume on instagram, twitter and Facebook so your friends can see how scary, fun and cool you look. Do it before you get in the car or when you get to the next destination, not while you are driving. No one wants your last post to be your LAST POST.

Also, consider the following:

1. Don't go out alone. Have a few friends with you.

2. If you are with a group of children, make sure they walk, not run, to the next place. Many children trip and fall while running.

3. Watch out for face paint. Some of it is not FDA approve and it can also cause an allergic reaction.

4. Keep a flash light with you and try to avoid poorly lit or dark areas. Where reflective tape, glow in the dark costumes, etc. to help motorists see you. You can even get a flashing light to put on your belt.

5. Only eat treats from places you trust or that are in manufactures wrapping. Check for puncture marks and tears in packages. If in doubt, throw it out.

6. Keep pets inside and away from the front door if you are handing out treats. Pets that are startled or exited can move really quick. They may think the person in the costume is trying to harm you and get protective. If your back yard is difficult to access form the front, sides or rear fence, keeping them there can help, but they could jump the fence to join the fun.

7. Finally, watch out for candles, oepn flames, and light bulbs. Costumes can catch fire if too near a heat source. Bulbs that are on for along time can get hot.

So, go out, have fun and stay safe!

Saturday, August 29, 2015

What is Personal Injury Insurance and do I need it?

Personal injury insurance is a coverage available on many homeowners insurance policies that protects you if a legal action is brought against you because you post something online about them that is critical, insulting or untrue about them. The same goes for posting things in print. (Keep in mind that you have some medical coverage and liability coverage if someone gets physically hurt on the property.)

With the rise in social media, this has become more of an issue. While we enjoy the freedom to express our opinions on a wide range of topics, we are not free of the consequences of such freedom. If you have teens or children that are active on social sites, you could be liable for what they post too.

And it's not just social media. Consumer review sites are another possible source of trouble. There are many websites where a customer can review a companies products. Customers can also review restaurants, professionals, hospitals, just about anything you can think of on the web.

Where the problem comes in if you (or a member of your household)  posts something online that damages someone. This is called libel. Libel is the use of false, defamatory claims about someone in written or printed form. (from There have been cases where people have been sued for reviewing someone on Yelp and other sites in a negative manner. The same has happened on Facebook, Twitter, Amazon and many others. Perhaps you are a landlord and vent online about your tenant (not smart), who then sues you when a co-worker sees the post. Or you rent a property and are angry that the landlord or manager has not taken care of a matter and you fire off a searing tweet about them (it may be time to move).  There are many ways you could get in trouble for your temper. 

Personal injury coverage is a great option to have and can be added by most carriers for very little cost per year. And remember, you can voice your opinion, but you are not free of the consequences. Even if you win in court, you still have to pay court costs and lawyer fees. So try to keep it civil, accurate and maybe wait a few days before you post to cool off. It could save you a big headache.