Mountain Views News     Logo: MVNews     Saturday, September 1, 2012

MVNews this week:  Page 14



 Mountain Views News Saturday, September 1, 2012 


The latest on Business News, Trends and Techniques

Legal Insights by Noah Green1 

1 Noah Green lives in Sierra Madre and works as an attorney handling business litigation at the Ryan Law Firm in 
Pasadena, CA. He can be reached by e-mail at, or by telephone at (626) 568-8808.


When people are 
involved in car 
accidents or trip and 
fall in another person’s 
house or business, 
they want to know 
how much they might 
be owed or have to 
pay to compensate 
the injured party. In 
other words, how does the law determine a dollar 
value for injuries? 

A. An Injured Person Can Only Sue if 
They Prove They Were Hurt Due to Someone 
Else’s Fault

 First and foremost, the injured party is 
only entitled to a recovery if they can prove that 
the accident was caused by the fault of another 
party. This is called “liability.” If liability cannot 
be proven, the value of the case is zero. For 
example: Many people incorrectly assume that if 
they slip and fall on someone else’s property, the 
property owner must automatically pick up the 
tab if they are hurt. That is false. The property 
owner is only liable if they knew or should have 
known of a dangerous condition that caused the 
accident and had an opportunity to make repairs. 
If the injured party cannot prove those facts, they 
will not be entitled to “damages,” which is legal 
jargon for a monetary recovery.

 People are also often confused by the issue 
of insurance and think that if the person who 
caused their accident is insured, the insurance 
company will automatically pay or think that 
they can “sue the insurance company.” In reality, 
the insurance company cannot be sued because 
they did not do anything wrong, i.e., they are 
not liable for the accident. Rather, the insurance 
company is required to cover any damages that 
their insured is liable for causing, up to the limit 
of the policy. For example, if someone is involved 
in a car accident, the other driver’s insurance 
company will only pay the injured party if the 
insured driver is found to be at fault. 

 B. The Law’s Measuring Stick for 
Valuing Injuries

Assuming that liability can be proven, a plaintiff 
in a personal injury case is generally entitled to 
recover three types of damages: 1) medical bills, 
2) lost earnings, and 3) non-economic damages. 

 Medical bills and lost earnings are 
relatively easy to determine as they can be proven 
by looking at documents with clear economic 
values and are often called “economic damages.” 
The “x” factor in every case is the non-economic 
damages – commonly referred to as “pain and 
suffering.” How does one put a dollar figure on 
an individual’s pain and suffering? One person’s 
pain is different from someone else’s and there 
is no piece of paper that can prove how much it 
should cost the guilty party. This is therefore an 
entirely subjective category of damages that often 
introduces an element of risk into the case that 
both sides struggle with. 

Nevertheless, for purposes of analyzing the value 
of a case, insurance companies often agree that a 
person’s pain and suffering should be measured by 
multiplying their medical bills by a factor of one 
or two. In other words, if a person has $10,000 in 
medical bills, the value of their pain and suffering 
can be rated at about $10,000-$20,000. Adding 
the economic and non-economic damages 
together gives the rough value of the case.

The foregoing is only a brief sketch of the process. 
The actual valuation of injury cases is more 
complex in terms of real-life case evaluation. 
However, the principles discussed herein can be 
used as a fairly reliable roadmap in determining 
how much compensation an injured person is 
entitled to under the law. 

By La Quetta M. Shamblee, MBA


 Public relations (PR) is one of the most effective 
ways to promote and grow your business, in terms 
of cost and impact. In contrast to advertising 
that entails paying money to have your message 
placed with media outlets like print, radio, 
television and internet, PR includes activities that 
result in third-party, word-of-mouth promotion 
as more potential customers help spread the word 
about our business. 

 PR usually includes one of more activities 
designed to generate interest among potential 
customers. This may include the preparation of 
press releases and formal pitches distributed to 
media outlets in an effort to secure interviews, 
feature articles and postings on event calendars 
at no additional cost to your business. But PR can 
also include community outreach, social media, 
hosting public events and other activities. 

 The goal, of course, is to generate exposure for 
your business in a way that will attract new and 
repeat customers to your business. Getting press 
releases, articles and announcements placed 
with media outlets on an ongoing basis will help 
to establish your company as one of the “go to” 
sources in the category of goods and services 
your offer. 

 To make the most of PR for your business, it 
is important to have a solid gameplan, which 
should include specific goals that you want to 
accomplish. Do you want to have a feature 
article in a publication that caters to your target 
audience? Want to be a featured guest on a 
morning news show to get exposure for your 
business? Want to build a Twitter following of 
a certain size? Need to increase the number of 
Friends on your business Facebook page? These 
are a few examples of the types of PR goals that 
might be included in your plan.

 There are a number of PR resources available to 
solo entrepreneurs and small businesses. If you 
have interest in learning to do it yourself, there 
are many “how to” books and training programs. 
One of the newest books on the subject is The 
New Rules of Marketing & PR: How to Use Social 
Media, Online Video, Mobile Applications, Blogs, 
News Releases, and Viral Marketing to Reach 
Buyers Directly by David Meerman Scott. As the 
title indicates, this book incorporates and applies 
current technology to the marketing and PR.

 UCLA Extension offers one of the most respected 
PR training programs available. All courses are 
taught by accomplished PR practitioners who 
have years of hands-on experience. You want to 
be sure to do things in a way most likely to result 
in actual benefits for your business. PR that 
works is not a one-time activity. It takes time to 
build relationships with media contacts that will 
be crucial to getting exposure for our business 
over the long-term.



How do you know if your social media strategy 
is working for you?

To start, benchmark where you are now. 
On your monthly calendar jot down how 
many “Likes,” “Followers,” “Emails,” and 
“Connections” you have. Once a month take 
a look at your numbers and see if your list 
is growing. Stay focused on building good 
“quality” connections and stay engaged with 

Now the tricky part, how do you measure 
the outcome of a good quality connection on 
social media? Unless you are advertising on 
social media, the dollar-to-dollar outcome can 
be tough to measure. 

Re-think your measuring stick. Replace ROI 
with ROR. Business owners have been taught 
to measure ROI at every turn in their business. 
ROR, return on your relationships (a phrase 
coined by Ted Rubin in 2009 and the title of his 
book), might be a better measuring stick when 
it comes to social media. 

Social media is more about relationship 
marketing than it is about direct sales. If your 
social media marketing is working for you, 
your word-of-mouth should be increasing and 
opportunities for collaboration within your 
network will start to appear. 

Measuring the ROI from word-of-mouth is 
tricky to calculate but if you’ve been in business 
for a while, you know that word-of-mouth is 
the best type of unpaid promotion you can 
get for your business. I often get referrals on 
Facebook from people I worked with over 20 
years ago! Social media tools can help you 
influence word-of-mouth and make it easier 
for people to find you when they need your 
product or service or want to recommend you.

About MJ: MJ and her brother David own 
HUTdogs, a creative services business that 
specializes in Social Media Education for 
business owners. Join their conversation on 
Facebook and get good tips and tricks about 
social media, 

Sign up for their upcoming classes and 
presentations at:

 A frequent topic of computer security headlines 
is the so-called “Zero-Day exploit”. A Zero-Day 
exploit is defined as the taking advantage of 
vulnerability the same day as the vulnerability 
is generally known. There are typically “zero 
days” between the discovery of the exploit and 
the attack, hence the name. In most cases when 
a vulnerability is found in computer code, the 
discoverer will notify the company responsible 
for creating and publishing the software (and 
sometimes the computing community at large) 
so that a fix can be found and implemented 
before any real damage is done. 

Even if hackers happen to learn about the exploit 
as the same time as the software publisher, 
they may not be able to take advantage of the 
vulnerability before it is fixed. When the hacker 
happens to be the discoverer of the exploit and 
the vulnerability wasn’t generally known in 
advance, there may be no effective way to guard 
against an attack using this new vector. For these 
instances, security software companies have 
devised programs (and sub-routines) that look 
for specific, suspicious activity (such as requests 
to format drives that do not originate from the 
console) and disallow such actions.

 The name “Zero-Day exploit” itself is a bit 
misleading because in many instances the 
vulnerabilities that are taken advantage of have 
been known to either the software company 
or the hackers themselves for quite some time 
before “something bad” happens. Many of the 
larger software manufactures have entire well-
financed sections of their operations devoted to 
identifying, tracking and repairing security holes 
in their products. Sometimes there are differing 
opinions as to what constitutes a vulnerability 
needing immediate attention and which bug(s) 
to be fixed in the next scheduled software update. 

 The best thing you can do to protect against 
zero-day exploits is to follow good security 
policies in the first place. By installing and 
keeping your anti-virus software up to date, 
blocking file attachments to emails which may be 
harmful and keeping your system patched against 
the vulnerabilities of you are already aware, you 
can secure your system or network against 99% 
of what is out there. 

 One of the best measures for protecting 
against currently unknown threats is to employ a 
hardware or software (or both) firewall. You can 
also enable heuristic scanning (a technology used 
to attempt to block viruses or worms that are not 
yet known about) in your anti-virus software. By 
blocking unnecessary traffic in the first place with 
a hardware firewall, blocking access to system 
resources and services with a software firewall 
or using your anti- virus software to help detect 
anomalous behavior you can better protect 
yourself against the dreaded zero-day exploit.

KNOW…………….. By Patricia Richardson, M.B.A

I received a call the other 
day from a new business 
owner looking for training 
for his QuickBooks for 
Mac 2012. So here are 
some of the new/improved 
and enhanced features.

Improved! Redesigned Forms (including 
Previous/Next buttons). The new customer 
history panel summarizes customer information 
for easy review including open invoices, open 
balances, notes etc. See the list of transactions for 
faster browsing. Improved tables with adjustable 
columns and multi-line descriptions provide a 
cleaner look to your data. 

Browse through invoices using the Prev/Next 
buttons, all this comes with a modern Mac-
like UI. These redesigned forms are: estimates, 
invoices, sales receipts, receive payments, credit 
memos/refunds, purchase orders, bills, write 
checks, credit card charges, and general journal 

This feature allows the user to click from customer 
to customer to find or open an invoice. You can 
now scroll through invoices for a particular 
customer as well, by using the “Next” or “Prev” 
arrows in the top left section of the invoice. The 
feature saves time and offers the user better 
organization when managing customer activity. 
Prior to the 2012 version, users were unable to 
find an invoice for a particular customer quickly. 
No Previous/Next functionality meant users 
likely had to open invoices in order to find the 
correct one. 

Improved! Add Online Banking Transaction in 
Batches. You can save time adding transactions 
from your financial institution to QuickBooks by 
batch entering items instead of adding transactions 
one at a time. QuickBooks automatically creates 
rules to rename payees downloaded from the 
financial institution. “Batch enter” transactions in 
just one click. Online banking is easier to access 
and with 2012. Now you have the ability to add 
multiple downloaded transactions to the bank 
account register. It also makes it easy to prevent 
renaming, such as when the payee name is 
“Check” (most of your checks are likely made out 
to different people). In fact, QuickBooks is pre-
loaded with the most common “Do not rename” 
rules, including check, transfer, and wire. 

Prior to 2012, online banking users in MAC 
could only add one transaction at a time to 
the register. They also needed to rename each 
transaction individually to match names in 
QuickBooks. These new features allows speedier 
data entry, and in a batch. Intuit recommends 
that all QuickBooks users apply this feature. 
Online banking is a must as it prevents users 
from overlooking bank transactions that were 
never entered into QuickBooks.

My warning to all QuickBooks users using online 
banking; be sure to reconcile your bank accounts 
each month. Online banking has created a great 
revenue stream for accountants and QuickBooks 
consultants. Clients forget to download days, or 
download twice or download entries that have 
been manually input; you name it and we have 
heard it. When the banking mess in your check 
register gets too big to figure out please call me. 
Intuit has a vested interest in growing the online 
banking feature. Their fastest growing part 
of their business is the Financial Institutions 
segment. This business segment consists 
primarily of outsourced online banking services 
for banks and credit unions provided by Intuit’s 
Digital Insight business. 

New! Progress Invoicing. QuickBooks for Mac 
2012 allows you to invoice for projects in phases. 
You can now invoice by line item or for a percent 
of the estimate. You can track how much has 
been invoiced and what’s left. Job history reports 
provide additional detail. Users who create 
estimates can now bill customers for work-in-
progress instead of creating an invoice for the 
whole of the estimated job when only part has 
been completed. This is a huge win for contractors 
who use QB Mac.

Patricia Richardson the owner of Monrovia Computerized 
Business Service. For additional information, patti@ or