Each year, 15 million civil suits are filed with the courts in the United States. While you hope that you will never face a suit of your own, it’s never wrong to be proactive and take measures to protect yourself, your family or your company in the event of a lawsuit. We’ve put a list of steps for you to follow before you find yourself involved in a suit:
Watch What You Say… and Do
Imagine this scenario: You are the CEO of your company, and you’re out at dinner with friends. You make a comment to one of your friends about a business in town that you claim is doing something that they shouldn’t be, even though you don’t have direct knowledge or proof of this company’s actions. The things you told your friend get spread around to other people, and the business you spoke about ends up losing business due to the false allegations. This scenario shows the setup of how you and/or your company could potentially be sued for slander, which is making false statements that damage the reputation of a person or a company. The same thing can be said for libel, which are written and published statements.
Your actions and your words outside of the business can directly affect what happens at your company, so it’s important to think about whom you are and the things you stand for. This means that you need to avoid saying anything that could potentially be seen as slanderous or libelous, or participating in anything that might be deemed as questionable. You also need to make sure that the things you say and do uphold the integrity of not only your company, but also yourself. You wouldn’t want to work with someone who always has something negative to say, so why would you want to become that person?
Make Sure You Have Insurance
Whether it’s someone being injured on your property or someone claims that the services provided were incomplete or negligent, there are multiple types of insurance available for your business to give you protection when something goes wrong. Some of the types of insurance you should consider getting for your business include, but are not limited to:
- General Liability Insurance: General liability insurance covers damage that your company causes on someone else’s property injuries that happen on company property or on job sites. It can also cover copyright infringement, slander and libel. General liability insurance can also pay for lawyers’ fees, court costs and settlements.
- Professional Liability Insurance (PLI): Otherwise known as “Errors and Omissions Insurance”, PLI’s focus on the issues that arise from your services. These include mistakes made, incomplete work, negligent services or the failure to uphold your end of the contract. Legal expenses will be covered under this policy.
- Business Owner’s Policy (BOP): This policy combines property and liability risks into one package. BOP’s typically include property insurance for both buildings and contents inside the buildings, business interruption insurance, and liability protection. Liability protection can cover the company’s legal responsibility for harm it might cause, such as bodily injury or property damage. It’s worth noting that BOP’s do not cover auto insurance, worker’s compensation or health and disability insurance.
Make sure you research different types of insurance to figure out which types would be best for your company. Even if you work out of your home, it is crucial that you have a form of protection in the event that something goes wrong.
Have an Attorney on File
To get a business started, there is plenty of contracts and paperwork that need to be completed. There is a huge chance that your company has already established contact with an attorney that helped with all of the paperwork. If a lawsuit arises, make sure that one of your first calls is to your lawyer. If your lawyer who helped you with your contracts and paperwork is unable to work with you with the lawsuit, they will be able to point you in the direction of someone that can help you, and that they trust to do a good job.
At Fankhauser Rachel, PLC, we are real people who offer our clients real solutions when they are facing struggles and obstacles. If you are looking to take the correct steps to protect you and your business in the event of a lawsuit, please contact us today.