Am I Being Sued? 7 Key Things to Do if Your Business Gets Sued
Over 20 million civil lawsuits are filed every year in the United States.
Lawsuits are filed for anything from contract disputes to slips and falls on your property. The chances your business will get sued are fairly high.
Am I being sued is a question that many business owners will have. Until you receive a summons, there is no way to tell for sure. Do not be intimidated by the threat of being sued, but it is important to be prepared.
In this article, we’ll explore all the basics of what to do if your business is being sued.
Am I Being Sued?
Whether or not you get sued will depend upon your liability. The type of business you operate has a great deal to do with how much liability you experience.
If a customer or guest is injured on your property, you are exposed to considerable liability. If someone has been hurt on your property, there is a high chance you’ll be sued as almost 11% of civil lawsuits are filed because of personal injury.
Taking steps to minimize your risk in this area is essential. Even with the best precautions, your business can still be sued.
Here are 7 key things you need to do if your business ends up being sued.
1. Stay Calm
Do not let your emotions get away with you. The danger in doing so is that you may make a decision that will be costly for your business or yourself.
Analyze the situation and do not make any snap judgments or decisions. Doing so now could have disastrous effects if your case ends up in court.
2. Contact a Lawyer Immediately
If you are sued, you will need to have legal representation. Larger businesses usually have a team of lawyers on retainer. Unless you are operating a large-scale business, this is not always feasible.
Contact an attorney that has experience representing companies and businesses in civil lawsuits. Not just any attorney will do. You need the right one for the best outcome.
3. Document Everything You Can
When going to court or contacting an attorney, make sure you have as much information as possible. Your lawyer will be able to determine what exactly you need. The more you give them to work with, the better off your chances of winning are.
If you know the time of the incident, make sure you collect any video footage of the event. Having hard, visual evidence of the event can make the difference between winning and losing.
4. Be Honest With Your Lawyer
You are protected by attorney-client privilege in most cases. Tell your lawyer everything that has happened. Do not withhold information in an attempt to protect your business. Doing so can backfire.
To represent you better, attorneys need to have all the facts available. Keeping any information from them can lead to an oversight that could lose your case.
Your lawyer is there to help you. They are on your team and will be your best chance if the case progresses. A good lawyer will always keep you apprised of your situation and be able to answer your questions.
5. Contact Your Insurance Company
Insurance is something we use to help our businesses and ourselves. Contact your insurance company to determine what type of protection you have in place. If you are being sued, insurance can help cover the cost.
Insurance companies can also help by providing additional legal weight to your case. Often, insurance companies will have investigators and other professionals that can be extremely important to you.
Even if you haven’t been sued yet or aren’t sure if you are being sued, check your insurance policy. Having the right protections and liability coverage is essential in the modern world.
6. Do Not Discuss Your Case With Anyone
Make sure that you do not discuss the details of your case with anyone except your lawyer. If you discuss details with a member of the public, it can come back to haunt you.
Not all lawsuits are justified, and in many cases, it could be more than one person trying to make money off your business. This is good advice when it comes to any legal proceeding.
7. Take the Lawsuit Seriously
You should know that a lawsuit can ruin your business. The cost of handling a lawsuit can be crippling to small businesses. Attorneys charge $100 an hour or more. Court costs can run into the tens of thousands of dollars.
A lawsuit is a threat to your business and livelihood. Take it as such and be prepared to go to whatever lengths necessary to protect your business and property.
What If I Don’t Know If I Am Being Sued?
If you don’t know if you are being sued yet but suspect it could happen, there are alternatives. Businesses have their own property and anything you put into your business could be at risk for seizure.
One potential safeguard that you can check into is asset protection. Asset protection is a way to keep your property and your company from losing everything to a lawsuit.
There are legal requirements and depending on the state, various legal protections already in place. Do your research and speak to a professional in the field of asset protection.
You might find that there are things you can do that will take a lot of the power away from those suing you. Any bit of safety and management of risk you can bring to bear will work in your favor.
The Price of Doing Nothing
If you do not act fast and decisively to address being sued, you stand to lose a lot. Protecting your assets and money should go hand in hand with addressing your lawsuit.
If you have to ask, “Am I being sued?”, remember it is likely you are. If you have taken the right steps from insurance to law assistance, you will have a much better chance of getting your business through it.
If you don’t, many businesses are destroyed by lawsuits every year. Do not join the statistics. Instead, be proactive in working to protect what is yours. You have to help yourself and help professionals give you the guidance and advice you need.
We hope this guide proved useful in helping you prepare your business in the event of a lawsuit. If you found it helpful, we invite you to browse our website for other interesting reads.