Business litigation is an ever-present risk if you own a business. One study found that between a third and a half of all companies face lawsuits in any given year.
What should you do if threatened with business litigation?
If someone threatens you with litigation, it is essential to know what to do. Otherwise, you could make costly mistakes. Here are four steps to take:
- Seek legal help: When someone threatens litigation, it does not necessarily mean they intend to file a lawsuit. They may be trying to pressure you into giving them what they want. An attorney can provide an impartial opinion about the severity of your situation and provide much-needed calm. They can review your contracts and check if the other side has valid grounds to bring a case or if they are trying to call your bluff.
- Advise your insurance company: If you go to litigation and lose, you will be relying on your insurer to bail you out. You need to understand what they will and will not cover.
- Control communications: Anything you or anyone in your company says or posts on social media could have repercussions. Depending on the matter in hand, you may receive inquiries from the press. Even if you successfully defend against the lawsuit, it can still harm your reputation. Designate one person or a team of people to handle any communication. Inform other staff to refer anyone to them.
- Gather evidence: Start collecting any relevant evidence. Even things you think could count against you. Destroying evidence, tampering with it, or trying to hide it could lead to serious charges.
Thankfully many threats of business litigation can be dealt with before they get to court. Remember to keep the big picture in mind before taking action.