December Newsletter 

 December 13, 2016

By  LMW Attorneys

Stay Safe And Be Responsible This Holiday Season

The holidays are a time for celebration with family, friends and neighbors. But the hectic pace can also present increased risks with crowded stores, traffic, stress and greater opportunities for thieves to target your purchases, valuables and personal information.

Take a few precautions to help yourself and your family enjoy a safe holiday season. Increase your attention to locking your home and vehicles. Take the time to lock your home or car even if you will be gone for only a few minutes. Busy people can become careless and vulnerable to theft and other holiday crimes. Here are extra tips you can take to ensure you have a safe holiday season:

  • Shop during the day if possible. If you must shop at night, go with a companion.
  • Dress casually and comfortably. Don’t wear expensive jewelry.
  • Carry a small wallet with your ID, necessary cash and one credit card, and put your wallet in a safe pocket. Or carry a small purse and hold it close to you. Make photocopies of your ID and credit cards and keep them in a safe place – just in case.
  • Carefully keep your wallet or purse in your possession. Do not store it in a shopping cart or set it down on a counter or the floor in a restaurant. Such practices are invitations to purse snatchers or thieves who are watching for exactly that sort of carelessness during this time of year.
  • Put your purchases in the trunk of your car or out of view. This caution applies to your home as well: don’t leave gifts or purchases where they can be easily seen from outside your home. Leaving packages in plain view is an invitation to a break in.Also, putting boxes or cartons from electronics or other desirable gifts by the curb on trash day is often all thieves need to break in and help themselves to your purchase. Break down cartons and bag the wrappings.
  • If you are ordering online and expect a package to arrive when you will not be home, instruct the vendor or carrier to leave the package with a neighbor. Many gifts don’t make it to their rightful owner because they were left on the front porch and disappeared.
  • Avoid overloading yourself with bags and packages. Clear visibility and freedom of motion are safety measures.
  • Beware of strangers approaching you for any reason. Con-artists attempt to distract you with the intention of taking your money or belongings. If someone approaches you and you fear that they do not have your best interests in mind, put up your hand and say, “stop” in a very loud voice. This will attract attention, which a stalker does not want.
  • Even though you might be rushed and thinking about a thousand things, stay alert to your surroundings.

Am I Legally Responsible If My Guest Drinks Too Much and Causes An Accident?

This is the time of year when many host open house celebrations, parties and other get–togethers. One of the questions we are often asked is: What is my responsibility or liability if a guest who has been drinking gets in an accident?

In Florida, you are unlikely to be held responsible for any accident caused by your guest under what is referred to as “dram shop” laws. “Dram shop” laws refer to those who sell liquor or serve liquor such as a bar, restaurant or package store. If a drunk or impaired guest injures himself in an accident, he cannot collect damages. However, if the drunk or impaired guest injures a third party, the injured party can sue the host for damages under certain circumstances. This is important if the person who caused the accident or injury has little or no insurance. Laws vary from state to state but most states impose liability on social hosts where alcohol is served to a minor or the host was careless about serving alcohol to guests who were intoxicated. Hosts should never encourage guests to drink excessively.

A little prevention and foresight can go a long way and may even save someone’s life. According to the Florida Department of Transportation, in 2015, in Florida there were 16,400 alcohol-related traffic incidents that resulted in 828 fatalities. Don’t let your guest list add to those statistics. Be safe and practice safe drinking and driving.

LMW Sponsors Brews & Wine On The Bayou

On October 1, Gill Dawg Marina & Tiki Bar presented a special event called “Brews & Wine on the Bayou.” The event benefited Youth & Family Alternatives. The weather was perfect for an outdoor bayou event with over 350 people attending! LMW was proud to be the Brew Sponsor.

At Brews & Wine on the Bayou, over 30+ craft beers and 30+ wines were available for tasting. Some of the breweries participating included: Big Storm, Coppertail, Florida Ave, Darwin, Pair O Dice, Motor Works, Black Fox Meads, TBBC, 3D Brewing, Magic Hat, North America Brewery,
Ship Yard and Big Top. Wineries include: Z Alexander, Double Decker, Sa Prum, Rodney Strong, Wente, Gnarley Head and Dreaming Tree. Many of these wines are only available in restaurants.

About Youth And Family Alternatives

Youth and Family Alternatives, Inc. (YFA) is a private not-for-profit committed to working in a collaborative partnership with families and communities to establish, maintain and enhance a nurturing and safe environment for children in 11 counties. YFA has over 550+ dedicated employees.

The Runaway Alternatives Project (RAP) House, located in New Port Richey, is one of the three runaway, homeless and youth Crisis Shelters operated by YFA that serve over 1,000 youth and their families promoting positive family interactions, resource referrals, and temporary residential care. For more information about YFA, visit www.yfainc.org.

(Photos courtesy of OurTownFla.Com)

Happy Holidays from Laporte, Mulligan & Werner-Watkins

From the team at Laporte, Mulligan & Werner-Watkins, we hope you and yours have a safe and happy holiday season. We are so grateful for each and every individual who has worked with us this year and look forward to another prosperous year in 2017!