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There Are Many Common Behaviors That Can Be Lead to a Lawsuit - Reader's Digest Interviewed Attorney Thomas Simeone To Learn More

There are laws governing every corner of our day-to-day lives, from what we do on social media to how we decorate our lawns. With so many rules and regulations out there, it is no surprise to find that there are numerous commonplace behaviors and occurrences we all do that can actually toe the line of legality and trigger a lawsuit. Reader’s Digest recently published an article that discussed the biggest “offenders,” and they sat down with Attorney Thomas Simeone of Simeone & Miller, LLP to get some legal insight. (You can click here to view the full Reader’s Digest article. Login information may be required.)

Filming in Public

Recent jumps in technology have put a smartphone — and a camera — in virtually everyone’s hands. The camera part of the device can be a legal problem, as you might need permission to record people in public. As Attorney Thomas Simeone explained in the Reader’s Digest interview, “two-party states” require you to get express permission from anyone in your video, even if they are a bystander 30 feet away you accidentally film. Otherwise, they could try to sue you to get the footage removed from anywhere it was uploaded, or destroyed altogether. If you make any profits off the video, then there might even be a chance you are sued for some sort of compensation. The safe bet is never filming people without their permission. Careful camerawork can crop out bystanders.

Taking Fido Out for a Walk

Going out for a stroll with man’s best friend can be quite relaxing, until you realize it actually puts you at risk of encountering a serious legal situation. If your dog bites someone while you are out walking, then the odds of that person suing you for compensation are high. Attorney Thomas Simeone noted that liability laws are not crafted to favor the dog owner. Many states make the dog owner strictly liable for any dog bite injuries, and the rest pin liability on the dog owner if there is any inclination the dog might be dangerous. The twist is a dog can be called “dangerous” even if it barks at cars driving by, as nearly all dogs are wont to do. To protect yourself and your dog from a lawsuit, keep Fido on a short leash whenever you go on a walk, steer clear of strangers, and generally stay out of crowded areas.

Social Media Tagging

Everyone loves a good story shared among friends on social media by tagging each other in pictures and videos. However, no social media story is shared just among friends. There is always a good chance someone uninvolved with your private matters is going to see the posts. Indeed, courts have routinely ruled that anything uploaded to social media is considered public data, even if you have your account completely locked and private.

This can lead to complications if you are in the middle of a legal case. For example, imagine being tagged on a date with a new paramour before your divorce finalizes. You might be accused of infidelity, hurting your chances of getting a positive outcome. When you are dealing with a lawsuit or legal case of any kind, abstain entirely from social media use.

Selling Your Goods & Services Online

The internet has forever changed the marketplaces of the world. Whether people are looking to buy a new coffee mug or get their hedges trimmed, they are going online to shop first. People also tend to prefer websites that let them make payments then and there, rather than in-person. As an entrepreneur who wants to put your custom crafts and services out there for the world to enjoy, you must be aware that you are entirely responsible for the data and personal information you collect from buyers and visitors. If a hacker steals data off your online marketplace, then it is you who will have to answer for it, usually by responding to lawsuits. Make certain your computers, servers, etc. all have great cybersecurity in place.

Installing a Swimming Pool

It is your right to have a private swimming pool on your property if you want one, but it is also the right of others to sue you if it becomes an “attractive nuisance” that hurts others. Attractive nuisance laws state that anything that could be intriguing and dangerous to an average child must be kept either out of sight or out of their reach with locks, gates, and so forth. Swimming pools are probably the most common attractive nuisance cited in such claims, as they are easy for children to see and look fun to play in, despite the inherent danger of drowning. To stop someone from trying to sue you for having a pool, install locking safety gates around your pool and property perimeter. You should also cover your pool whenever it is not in use.

The Lesson to Take From Commonplace Lawsuits

There are so many ways you can get unexpectedly sued by a third party — what are you supposed to do to defend yourself? The unfortunate reality is you can never predict with 100% accuracy all the reasons why someone might think it is time to bring a lawsuit against you. The most you can do is be aware of your legal responsibilities, be reasonable, and talk to an attorney as soon as you run into trouble.

At Simeone & Miller, LLP, we know all about tricky legal situations because we have helped thousands of clients get through them. Our Washington D.C. personal injury attorneys are here to guide and represent you after you get hurt by a negligent person or party. When your injuries are not your fault, the costs to cover related damages should not be your responsibility. Call 202.888.0872 to schedule a free case evaluation with our law firm to learn more about your rights and legal options.