Is Your Business Facing a Lawsuit? Take These 5 Steps First

If you are running your own business it is a matter of when, not if, you will have a lawsuit filed against you. Just about every business that serves customers will eventually go through this, so it makes sense to be prepared. In many cases the lawsuits can end up getting dismissed or the damages will be fairly minimal if you can present a strong defense. As soon as you become aware that you are being sued, take the following steps to ensure you are as protected as possible.

Talk to Your Attorney
This should be the very first thing you do. If you don’t have an attorney on retainer, reach out to an attorney with experience in business law. If you are in Washington State, contact APH Law to go over your situation and get the help you need. Talking to an attorney will help ensure you know all your options and can properly determine the seriousness of this lawsuit. They can also offer you guidance on how to best proceed.

Notify Your Insurer
In many cases, the lawsuit will end up being paid out by your insurance company, so they need to be notified right away. Depending on the nature of the lawsuit, they may even send in their own legal team to represent their interests (which in this case will also be your interests). Even if they aren’t going to be the ones footing the legal bill, they will typically want to be aware of the situation so they can determine what, if any, liability they will have.

Stop Communication with Plaintiff
Lawsuits often come from customers who you have worked with in the past. While it can be tempting to try to talk through the issue, that opportunity has already passed. Once they have filed the lawsuit, you need to assume they will move forward with it, which means anything you say to them will likely be used against you. Any communication that needs to occur between you and the plaintiff should go through your attorney to ensure your rights are protected.

Evaluate Your Options Based on Business Needs
Having a lawsuit filed against your business can be a very upsetting experience. Many people have the initial knee-jerk reaction of wanting to fight back and even counter-sue. While this can be a good course of action in some cases, it is better to take a step back and really evaluate all your options objectively. Try not to make decisions based on your emotions, but instead, think about what will be best for your business. Even if that means settling the suit.

Gather All Information Together
You don’t want to wait for the court date to start gathering all of your documentation and other evidence together. The sooner you can get all relevant documents together, the more time your attorney will have to go over the information and provide you with the right guidance. Any paperwork or other information that could have anything to do with the case should be pulled and presented to your attorney. If you have any questions about any of the steps here, or anything related to a business lawsuit, please contact APH Law today.