There are advantages to owning a small business and endless opportunities for success and growth. Becoming a small business owner is something to be proud of, but there are some risks associated with owning any business. While ideally, it will never happen, a small business lawsuit can be an extremely stressful situation. It’s good practice to be prepared for the worst just in case you find yourself facing a legal situation.
Stats show that each year, 35-56% of small businesses may become involved in litigation. You may not have experience handling lawsuits, specifically business ones, but that’s no reason to fret. Here are a few key things know so you can handle a small business lawsuit.
A claim is not a lawsuit
The first important thing to note is the difference between a lawsuit and a claim. If someone makes a claim against your business, it will only involve your insurance company and does not necessitate you to go to court. If the insurance companies settle the dispute between each other than it doesn’t escalate further. If they cannot reach a mutual agreement, it could lead to a lawsuit. It is also possible for a lawsuit not to make it to court if both sides agree to an appropriate settlement. If it does go to court, make sure always to have a court reporter present to transcribe everything, to ensure that nothing is misinterpreted.
Protect yourself with comprehensive insurance
Your business may never face a lawsuit in all your years of operation. Still, you must prepare yourself should the scenario arise. Proper insurance is critical to make sure that your business is covered as much as possible. The most essential type of coverage you can have is general liability insurance. It will cover you from the most common situations that could arise, such as employee injuries or any other injuries on your business property. Depending on your business operations, you may want to look into more specialized packages based on risks your employees or clients may face.
Make sure your business insurance covers courtroom costs, attorney fees, and settlement fees as well.
Obtain a quality business lawyer
As a small business owner, it is a good idea to have a lawyer on retainer. That way, you know you will have a good quality lawyer you can trust on hand if you end up facing a lawsuit. The last thing that you want to do is scramble to find a good lawyer last minute and not have time to do your research.
The best course of action will usually be a settlement because it won’t require you to go to court. That said, always speak to your lawyer first before saying anything as they will be able to advise you on the best action to take and guide you through the whole process. Even once you speak to your lawyer, you should still avoid any direct contact with the plaintiff. Always make sure that any conversations you have with the person suing you go directly through your lawyer.
Lastly, the best thing you can do after a lawsuit is to learn from it. Use the experience to ensure it doesn’t happen again by making the necessary adjustments in your business.