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Take Note

Document incidents now, and avoid lawsuits later.

This story appears in the October 2004 issue of Entrepreneur. Subscribe »

It was a rainy day, and your floors were wet from drippingumbrellas. The customer who slipped didn't appear to beinjured; she refused medical attention and insisted she was fine.In minutes, the whole thing was over-or so you thought. But a fewmonths later, she's suing for medical costs plus pain andsuffering. And because you didn't make any notes, yourinsurance company has to try to defend you without anyevidence.

Proper documentation at the time could have put you in a muchstronger position. If a situation occurs and you think there'sany chance that an attorney might become involved, document theincident, advises , an attorney and mediator based in Anaheim Hills,California. "Documentation gives you the ability to cut off[bogus] claims early and to settle cases [you're liable for]more quickly," Searle says.

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