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Pursuing your rights to recover your loss after an accident

The aftermath of an accident might be harsh as you may not be eligible to sustain your life securely and continue your profession. Your physical condition and economic safety are likely to decrease correspondingly as lack of earning capacity might put the victim at risk of further difficulties. Others’ wrongful actions or lack of commitment to take reasonable care conduces to accidents that may have negative effects on the victim’s life. The laws were put into force with the aim of decreasing the human factor in accidents and helping to relieve the post-accident difficulties of victims by awarding monetary damages. As seen in the laws, whilst interacting with others or occupying the same roads, individuals are obliged to hesitate to act in a way that may be harmful to others.

The legal duty to act responsibly is the duty of care

Your actions might harm others. Even if your intention is not to harm, certain actions that have the potential to cause an accident is determined as wrongful actions. These safety violations can be committed at work, in traffic, whilst treating a patient and undergoing surgery, in an event that you host or in a business place that serves consumption products. The form of negligence varies as your actions or lack of taking an action against the potential risk factors might conduce to the same conclusions.

In a medical centre, the whole treatment process may be damaged by the negligence of the medical attendant at duty. The first step of medical care is usually the diagnosis stage. During the diagnosis, the medical attendant’s error or certain defective products may cause the condition to be evaluated falsely. If x-ray machines aren’t operating correctly or the professional using these devices aren’t capable of evaluating the results correctly, the treatment process is likely to diverge. The post-diagnosis process will be entirely dependent on the patient’s evaluated medical condition that has incorrectly evaluated.

The use of machinery and robotic surgeries are getting more common and beneficial in medical treatments. These are the advantages of technology that can be beneficial if utilised correctly. Other than the surgeons’ errors, the machines and devices involved in the surgery have the potential to harm the patient. These devices may be operating incorrectly due to production defects or as in the diagnosis stage, the cause of the harm might be the human factor. Everything that is electric-powered or using a clockwork mechanism requires regular maintenance. Lack of maintenance, operating the devices incorrectly or the use of recalled, prohibited or incorrect devices may be the cause of harm.

Fundamentals of the duty of care

Being the cause of an accident in the workplace might put you in legal troubles as the employer’s duty of care is to provide total safety. Generally, work accidents are preventable. Even if not, the impact can be reduced noteworthily. Natural causes are usually blamed after work accidents. In fact, even the toughest work conditions can be improved by taking sufficient care. As the employer, the source of risk might be you. Preventive measures should be taken to keep the workers safe. Generally, lack of sufficient protective equipment, inadequate work conditions due to high risks, incorrectly appointing workers to operate machinery and performing these tasks in a timely are the main causes of work accidents.

These are preventable risks that a reasonable employer would care about. The personal injury laws demand the employers act responsibly by designing the workplace suitable for the safety standards issued by the authorities. Failing to do so might have legal consequences as the victim’s loss might be hard to resist.

Article by:

Arda Seyman

Withstand Lawyers Standing with you

Suite 107, Level 1, 18-20 Ross St, Parramatta NSW 2150 

www.withstandlawyers.com.au | gurcans@withstandlawyers.com.au

 

David Englehart joins Leaders in Law as the exclusive Commercial Property Law member in the UK

Leaders in Law, the leading platform in its field, is delighted to welcome David Englehart as our exclusively recommended & endorsed Commercial Property Law expert in the United Kingdom. David’s office is located in East Sussex.

Engleharts understands that commercial property is a central part of there clients’ business, investment and personal lives.  At Engleharts they believe that commercial property growth in the UK is critical for our clients’ businesses to grow, for the overall growth of the economy and essentially to the UK as a whole.

The current climate is fuelled by political uncertainty, with the possibility of many businesses relocating overseas. There is also the looming pressures on the Government to provide social housing as well as the rising costs associated with development and property investment.  It is now important for our clients to be able to depend on their legal partners and to be able to discuss their proposed business transactions with them.

If you require any assistance in this area, please use the contact details provided in David’s profile below or contact us at info@leaders-in-law.com & we will put you in touch.

 

Use of Trademarks in the U.S.

As North America brings its intellectual property laws in line with the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA), the way trademarks are handled in Mexico and Canada has recently changed. While Mexico now requires a business to use its mark to obtain a Mexican trademark registration, Canada no longer requires the use of a mark in order to obtain a Canadian trademark registration.

A business may spend significant resources attempting to use a trademark in the U.S., but ultimately fail to satisfy legal and technical requirements. Not only are such attempts wasteful, but they may also pose an obstacle to pursuing an otherwise legitimate trademark registration. To successfully register a trademark in the U.S., a business is required to use the trademark on or in connection with its products and/or services, but the law has different requirements for each.

U.S. TRADEMARKS FOR PRODUCTS

For a trademark associated with products, advertising alone, such as use in a brochure or on a website, is not normally enough. The mark must be placed in any manner on the products or on the containers of the products, or on tags or labels affixed to the products. If the nature of the products makes such placement impracticable, then it may be acceptable for the mark to be used on displays associated with the sales of the products. Additionally, the products must be sold or transported in interstate commerce.

The simplest way to satisfy this requirement is to put the trademark directly on the products, such as by incorporating the mark into the mold of molded products, stamping or printing the mark onto the products, or applying a tag or label to the products carrying the mark. The mark could also be applied to the packaging or container of the products.

For an example of displays associated with the sales of a product, the mark can appear with the product in a catalog or on a website, but there are specific requirements for those uses. If used in a catalog, the mark must be accompanied by a description or picture of the product, and the same catalog page generally must include ordering information such as a phone number or a web address. If used on a website, the mark must still be accompanied by a description or picture of the product, and the webpage must include the direct ability to order the product, such as a “Buy Now” or “Add to Cart” button on the webpage.

U.S. TRADEMARKS FOR SERVICES

For a trademark associated with services, the mark must be used or displayed in the sale or advertising of the services, and the services must be rendered in interstate commerce. That is, the services must be rendered in more than one state, or in some other way in interstate commerce, or in the U.S. and a foreign country, and the company rendering the services is engaged in commerce in connection with the services.

ENSURING CORRECT U.S. TRADEMARK USE: THE ABCD TEST

To ensure that your trademarks, aside from being placed on the products or used in connection with the sale of services, are being used correctly, use this ABCD test:

  1. Adjective: Use the trademark in the position of an adjective describing the product, followed by the common descriptive noun for the product. For example, use “KLEENEX tissue” not simply “a KLEENEX,” or “XEROX photocopier” rather than simply “the XEROX.”
  2. Brand identification: Properly identify the status of the trademark as a brand with the appropriate trademark symbol e.g., ® for a registered mark and ™ for a mark not yet registered.
  3. Consistency: Be strictly consistent in displaying the mark. If the trademark is punctuated, capitalized or colored in a certain way, it is critical to maintain the same formatting. Any change of any of those properties could be considered a change to the mark, that is, adopting a different mark. Such consistency will also help ensure that others recognize that this is a trademark and not just another word. While it makes sense for a company to adopt a different mark from time-to-time, such changes should only be done intentionally, after careful thought and transition planning, rather than by accident or in a casual attempt at creativity.
  4. Distinctive: Use the mark in a way that is distinctive, that sets it off from surrounding text, such as in a different typeface, color or capitalization
Article by;

Nicholas A. Kees
Alexander C. Lemke
Godfrey & Kahn S.C.

The inability to pay debts test before the Maltese Courts

In its recent decision Xuereb v Weber Construction Limited Et (decided 18 March 2021) the Civil Court (Commercial Section) weighed in once more on the appropriate tests to be applied when assessing a company’s inability to pay its debts under Maltese corporate insolvency law. One of Weber Construction Limited’s (“Weber”) shareholders filed an application in court requesting the company’s dissolution and consequential winding up on the grounds inter alia that it was unable to continue to pay its debts.

Article 214(2)(a)(ii) of the Companies Act, 1995 (the “Act”) grants the court discretion to order the dissolution and winding up of a company where the company is “unable to pay its debts”. For the purpose of this provision, a company is deemed to be unable to pay its debts if (i) a debt due by the company has remained unsatisfied (in whole or in part) after 24 weeks from the enforcement of an executive act specified under Article 273 of the Code of Organisation and Civil Procedure; or (ii) it is proved to the court’s satisfaction that the company is unable to pay its debts, account being taken also of the company’s contingent and prospective liabilities.

It is only once one of the above tests is proved to the court’s satisfaction that a Maltese court may consider exercising its discretion whether to order a company’s dissolution and consequential winding up. Therefore, a clear understanding and correct application of the various insolvency tests contemplated under the Act is central to the court’s application of its discretion in this regard.

In approaching this issue, Maltese courts do, as a matter of settled practice, refer to the corresponding provisions of the UK Insolvency Act, 1986, on account of the conceptual similarity between the two legal systems where matters of corporate insolvency are concerned.Indeed, the court in Xuereb v Weber did concede that although the Maltese concept of insolvency adopted a more restrictive application than the test applied under English law, there were “overlaps” between the two tests.

Under English law, there are 2 principal tests of insolvency – the “cash flow” test (where a company is deemed to be insolvent on account of its inability to pay its debts as they fall due) and the “balance sheet” test (where a company is deemed to be insolvent in the event that its liabilities exceed its assets).

Retaining this distinction is also possible under Maltese insolvency law however, any reference to a Maltese version of the cash flow test or balance sheet test only works to the extent that the application of specific statutory requirements under the Act are akin to a “cash flow” and/or “balance sheet”-type insolvency scenario.

Our courts (including in Xuereb v Weber) have been prepared to regard the Article 214(5)(a) of the Act (requiring for a debt to remain unsatisfied, whether in whole or in part, following 24 weeks from the enforcement of an executive act) as resembling the cash-flow test under English law, affirming nonetheless that the English law requirement that a company be “unable to pay its debts as they fall due” is a far wider test than the requirements under the Maltese statutory provision.

Similarly, Article 214(5)(b) which speaks of a company’s inability to pay its debts, account being taken also of the company’s contingent and prospective liabilities, can be treated, strictly for comparative purposes, as the Maltese law conceptual counterpart to the English law “balance-sheet” insolvency test. Here again, the Maltese courts have repeatedly pointed out a significant difference between the two tests, notwithstanding the accepted conceptual similarity. Section 123(2) of the Insolvency Act 1986 prescribes similar yet not identical wording to Article 214(5)(b) of the Act and states that: “A company is also deemed unable to pay its debts if it is proved to the satisfaction of the court that the value of the company’s assets is less than the amount of its liabilities, taking into account its contingent and prospective liabilities.”

Under the Maltese “version” of the balance-sheet test, a court’s determination would be limited to assessing a company’s ability (or lack thereof) to service its debts, account being taken also of its contingent and prospective liabilities. On the other hand, a court in England carrying out a similar determination would inquire about the value of the company’s assets compared to the amount of its liabilities (account taken also of contingent and prospective liabilities).

Statutory divergences notwithstanding, a Maltese court will invariably draw upon the body of case-law developed by the English courts in determining a potential exercise of the balance-sheet test to reach a conclusion of inability of pay debts under the Act. In Xuereb v Weber, the court looked to English jurisprudence on the treatment of “contingent and prospective liabilities” for the purpose of determining potential balance-sheet insolvency. In so doing, a Maltese court will embrace and make part of its own determination those important principles developed before the English courts on this subject, for instance, that a court is able to take into account contingent and prospective liabilities, but not contingent and prospective assets [Byblos Bank SAL v Al-Khudhairy (1986) 2 BCC99 549 (CA)].

Based on the evidence submitted, and following an analysis of the applicable jurisprudence, the court in Xuereb v Weber did express its satisfaction that the company was shown to be in a position where it was not able to pay its debts, account having been taken of its contingent and prospective liabilities.

Having ascertained a case of “balance-sheet” insolvency, the court ordered that Weber was to be dissolved, and appointed the Official Receiver as liquidator to the company to commence the winding up process.

Koen De Puydt

News Article by Leaders in Law Member – Koen De Puydt

Professional Liability of Intellectual professions in the Construction Sector 

Following the ten-year liability insurance for real estate projects for architects, engineering firms and contractors, which was made mandatory by the “Peeters-Borsus Law” since 1 July 2018, another insurance obligation has been introduced within the construction sector by the “Peeters-Ducarme Law” effective 1 July 2019. 

The title of this law is self-explanatory. It introduces “a professional liability insurance for architects, surveyor experts, safety and health coordinators and other service providers in the construction sector relating to construction works and amends various legal provisions regarding civil liability insurance in the construction sector”, as mentioned earlier also called the Peeters-Ducarme Law. 

peeters-law_buildings_2.jpg

This title shows that this law has in principle a larger scope than the Peeters-Borsus Law. Where the latter applies primarily to contractors and architects in the context of housing projects and for works that require the intervention of an architect, the Peeters-Ducarme Law introduces a professional liability insurance for all intellectual professions within the construction sector, with regard to all construction work. 

Consequently, the Peeters-Ducarme Law does not apply to contractors, but it applies to all kind of real estate work (and therefore not only with regard to housing projects). Thus, as a result of the execution of all real estate works, the principal will enjoy this protection regardless of the final destination of the property or the possible intervention of an architect. 

Compulsory insurance coverage cannot be lower, per claim, than:

  • € 1,500,000 for damage resulting from physical injuries;
  • € 500,000 for the total material and immaterial damage;
  • € 10,000 for the objects entrusted to the insured by the principal.

The law also provides for a posterior coverage on the basis of which the liability for claims must be covered if the claim is filed within three years after the cessation of the activities of the insured service provider . 

Although it could be expected that the Peeters-Ducarme Law has a larger scope than the Peeters-Borsus Law, we must conclude that it is largely eroded by the exceptions that are provided for in respect of the damage that the insurance must cover. 

For example, Article 5 of the Peeters-Ducarme Law states that damages are not covered if it is the consequence of a failure to comply with one or more contractual obligations or if damages resulting from environmental degradation, claims relating to an inadequate budget, or disputes in relation to fees and expenses.

These exceptions erode the potentially extensive coverage provided by the Peeters-Ducarme Law significantly and therefore the latter offers less protection than might be expected at first sight. 

The Peeters-Ducarme law has been published yesterday (26 June 2019) in the Belgian Official Gazette and will enter into force on 1 July 2019. 

Peeters Law (to be soon Seeds of Law) will be happy to provide you with the necessary advice or assistance in this matter. Please contact us via info@seeds.law or by telephone on +32 (0)2 747 40 07.

Koen De Puydt – Toon Delie

Real Estate and Construction Law    Professional Liability     Professional Liability insurance     Intellectual professions     construction sector     architect surveyor expert    safety and health coordinator