Lawyers, and lawsuits, and legal bills, Oh My! Nothing is quite as scary or potentially debilitating for an up-and-coming business than time-consuming and expensive lawsuits. To avoid being put between a rock and a hard place, it’s important to do everything possible to avoid lawsuits before they arise. This means taking common-sense steps to proactively protect your business from being sued instead of waiting until you’re facing legal problems. Here are five simple steps you can take to do just that.
Liability insurance is essential for your business. This type of insurance can cover the cost of your defense if and when common legal issues arise, including visitor slip-and-fall or employee discrimination lawsuits. For the most part, what type of coverage you require depends on your profession or industry. For example, if you provide professional medical, legal, or financial advice to clients, you likely need errors and omissions insurance to protect your business on the off-chance that you or one of your employees gives advice that turns out to be wrong.
Make sure the contracts you enter on behalf of your business protect you and your company! A great contract, drafted by a lawyer in your state, is a back-up form of insurance for your business. For example, a contract that limits your liability for missing a deadline because of matters beyond your control, such as a supplier strike or a hurricane that knocks out your IT system or destroys your building, would be a great investment. But even the best contract cannot predict every situation that might arise, which is why the next step is particularly important.
Having a business lawyer on retainer can save you time, money, and headaches. Because they have experience handling legal issues, contracts, and reviewing insurance policies for coverage gaps, good business lawyers can predict likely risks and challenges that may face your business and protect you from them with compliance measures or thoughtfully written contracts. If despite your best efforts, your company is sued, your general counsel will already have the inside knowledge needed to defend your business.
When your business is transparent about its policies and procedures, clients and employees are far less likely to sue. An updated and timely employee handbook or job manual that outlines how each of your employees should handle common situations is essential. Your handbook also should provide employees with clear instructions on what to do if they feel that they have been unfairly treated in the workplace. Knowing how to handle employee complaints head-on can be the best way to prevent employee lawsuits.
Happy clients don’t sue, generally speaking. While mistakes are inevitable, if you listen to your clients and hear their complaints, they’re far less likely to sue when and if something goes wrong. By the same token, clients are more likely to forgive a random mistake if you are known for delivering amazing service. Be sure your employee training protocols include methods for calming disgruntled client and de-escalating tense situations.
As the owner of a business, you have enough to do without tackling legal problems on your own. Before you get to that point, let us help. Call Thrive Law at (727) 300-1990 to find out how.