A lawsuit is the last thing that any business owner would want to come across, but this is something you cannot steer clear of. You will probably encounter them more than once during the lifespan of your business. Lawsuits may be filed by clients, vendors, employees or even third parties and other businesses. No matter where they come from and for what reason they happen, legal issues can cost a lot of money and stress. So it becomes important to be aware of the right approach for dealing with them so that you can resolve them at the earliest. Here are some helpful pieces of advice on what needs to be done if your company gets sued.
Know the type of lawsuits you may encounter
Business lawsuits are more complex than you may think and even a seemingly harmless action can land you in big trouble. It makes sense to know all about the diverse lawsuits you may encounter so that you may avoid them in the first place. Founder disputes and intellectual property breaches are the common lawsuits that startups may come across. Your clients or vendors may sue you for fraud or breach of contract. You may get into legal trouble with the employees if they file for issues like workplace discrimination or sexual harassment. Personal injury lawsuits are another concern for companies. These vary from premises liability cases to defective product claims and car accident claims for mishaps with business vehicles.
Onboard an attorney
Since you will probably face a lawsuit at some point in time, it is wise to have a legal expert in your team. Conversely, you will have to onboard an attorney when someone files if you don’t have one in the team. Look for someone with the right experience, depending on the lawsuit you face. For example, someone with experience in car accident cases would be an apt choice if you have been sued for a company vehicle accident. The victim will hire not just any law firm, so you should also have someone good enough to defend you. Similarly, you will need a criminal defense specialist if accused of a financial fraud. A specialist lawyer would handle the case with expertise and make you feel confident.
Share all the important details with the attorney
Once you get the suit papers, you will need to review them carefully with your lawyer. They would want some details about the case to create a solid defense. As a client, you should provide them all the information and key pieces of evidence you can. Telling lies or hiding facts will only aggravate your problems and you may even end up losing the case. Make sure that you preserve all data and records relating to the legal action because you may need them eventually. Your lawyer would guide you in this context and you must follow their instructions properly. Also, avoid communicating directly with the plaintiff and let the lawyer handle everything.
Connect with your insurance provider
Typically, businesses have insurance coverage to deal with unexpected circumstances including lawsuits. The cover types may be varying, from general liability insurance to professional liability policy and employer’s liability insurance. The objective however is the same- to help your business recoup the losses related to legal suits. If the lawsuit falls under the umbrella of your policy, you would get court costs, attorneys’ fees and any settlement you are found liable for paying. Obviously, you will need to connect with the insurance provider to claim coverage. Insurance policies mandate that the lawsuit papers should be forwarded promptly to the insurer, so this is something you shouldn’t overlook.
Decide the response to the complaint
Lawsuits come with deadlines that require the defendant to submit a written response to them. Depending on the case and your lawyer’s advice, you may respond in the form of an admittance or denial of the allegations, your defenses and counter claims against the plaintiff and whether you expect a jury trial or an out-of-court settlement for the lawsuit. Your lawyer would have the best advice on response, specifically the settlement decision. Ideally, you should opt for the alternative because extended legal battles are expensive and cause reputational damage to the business.
Taking the right approach towards business lawsuits is important, whether you are guilty or not. Expert legal counsel is something you shouldn’t compromise with because the reputation of your company is at stake. Always collaborate with a professional you can trust for bailing your company out of legal trouble.