Thursday, May 25, 2006

Nine Days to a Lawsuit-Free Life, Day One: Be Aware of Your Surroundings

Author: Nick
Category: Money

punny money is slippery when wet

Here’s a startling statistic for you: the average American will be sued 943 times in the next seven years. While the majority of those lawsuits will be against people who make up blatantly false statistics, some of them can be easily avoided by taking some simple steps. This series will focus on nine easy ways you can help lawsuit-proof your life and ensure that your net worth is protected from money-hungry lawyers.

But first, my lawyer is making me display the following disclaimer.

I am not a lawyer, and the tips provided in this series are not legal advice. Should you become injured, disabled, or sleepy as a result of the information contained heretoinforthwithly, don’t go blaming me because I’m telling you this right now: I make this stuff up as I go along.

One of the most basic improvements you can make in your quest to stay free of lawsuits is to know your surroundings. Specifically, you want to heighten your awareness of two kinds of objects: other people, and things around you that can negatively affect other people. Identifying how these two can interact is an important part of avoiding accidents and, thus, avoiding potential liability ensuing from those accidents. Here are some ways you can increase your awareness of what’s around you.

  • Slow things down. The pace of today’s world is hectic, and it seems like everybody is always in a hurry to get where they’re going. But with higher speed comes less time to react to your ever-changing environment. The difference between a careful walk and a wreckless run can mean the difference between bumping into someone and staying out of harm’s way.
  • Use all of your senses. Our ability to avoid accidents relies heavily on our sense of sight; if we see an object, we take action to avoid it. But all too often, if we wait to act until we can see the object, it may be to late to avoid it. That’s because sight generally operates in a straight line. While keeping your eyes open for potential dangers is important, your other senses operate in different ways to help augment your awareness of your surroundings. For example, your sense of hearing is useful for picking up approaching footsteps around the corner, while your sense of smell can help you determine that the approaching person is carrying a hot cup of coffee.
  • Identify accidents waiting to happen. There are only so many ways a person can get hurt, so picking up on those ways the first time you see them can help you avoid them in the future. That swinging door people usually just plow through–be as careful when going through it as you would when first approaching it. If possible, point out dangerous situations to someone who can do something to correct them.
  • Don’t let down your guard. Accidents can happen in a split second, so all it takes is a momentary lapse in judgment to turn a non-incident into anything but. Just because you don’t sense anyone standing behind you doesn’t mean you should take two steps back without looking first. Being ever-vigilant is simple and not at all time-consuming, and it can save you from major legal headaches down the road.

Got a tip for helping people be aware of their surroundings? Look both ways, then comment here or send it to Punny Money.

Tomorrow, we’ll go over some steps you can take to help lawsuit-proof your driving habits just in time for the busy holiday weekend.

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