Disclaimer: If you’ve experienced a lawsuit against your business, the following information only serves as general guidance regarding the legal process. It is not, however, tantamount to actual legal advice. To better understand the legal perspective of having your business sued, it is recommended that you speak to a licensed lawyer who has experience with the topic similar to yours.
You’re working all day long in your office when you receive mail from the court. You’re shocked, and you don’t know what do until you have come to your senses that your business is being sued. Obviously, you wish that it’s not happening to you, but the reality is yes, your business has a lawsuit against it. Unfortunately businesses are at risk of lawsuits for numerous reasons including worker injuries, customer falls, and other accidents. So, these are the things to consider legally if your business is being sued:
- Know What The Lawsuit Is All About With The Assistance Of A Lawyer: When you receive the lawsuit papers, what are the things that come first to your mind? In cases like these, it’s best if you get to know the lawsuit by yourself and its allegations together with the assistance of an attorney.
- Check if the complaint involves the right party-in-interest and if there is a cause of action to file a case against your business.
- Consider all essential information stated in the lawsuit paper and consult your legal counsel about these matters and how these can affect your business in the long run.
- If there are documents and other sources of evidence which are relevant to the case, secure them properly in case the litigation prospers.
- Less Talk, Less Mistakes: When you’ve discovered that someone sued your business, you’re usually in the adrenaline rush to confront the plaintiff, right? If that’s the case, then you’re probably not doing the right thing.
- If you’re the defendant in the litigation, don’t commit the mistake of communicating with the plaintiff about the accusations against you.
- As a business owner, you have to keep in mind that anything you’ll say can be used as evidence against you. Instead, channel all your communications with the plaintiff through your respective lawyers. That way, you’re preserving your right to remain silent until proven guilty by the courts of law.
- Respond To The Complaint No Later Than The Required Period: If you are involved in a legal case as a defendant, you’re also given with the position to file your counter-affidavit within the required number of days.
- Do not simply ignore the suit because your failure to submit your response within the specified timeframe would affect your defense with the possibility of getting a default judgment in favor of the plaintiff.
- You have to consider the ways you’ll respond to the lawsuit paper. Here are the options you can select when you’re proceeding with the case:
- You can admit or deny the allegations against you.
- You can request an alternative process of settling disputes or push through with the actual jury trial.
- Inform Your Insurance Service Provider About The Case You’re Involved In: In most cases, lawsuits are also associated with monetary claims in favor of the plaintiff.
- Take note to inform your insurance company about your case and verify if your lawsuit is covered by a general liability policy.
- Consult your insurer to prepare yourself for the liabilities you’re accountable for to the plaintiff.
- Get A Defense Lawyer To Represent You In Court: When you’re ready to face the plaintiff in court, it’s encouraged that you get an experienced defense attorney who will represent you in all stages of the court proceedings including the arraignment, trial and even during the promulgation of the final judgment.
- Make sure that your legal counsel knows your case and the consequences should the jury issues a judgment against your business.
- Take note to choose a knowledgeable lawyer who can provide you with the legal defense you deserve for the case.
- Observe Proper Behavior Throughout And After The Case Proceedings: When the plaintiff brings a cause of action before the court of justice – and names you as the defendant of the case, the court already acquires jurisdiction over you. That’s why you’re bound to follow the court rules during and until the issuance of the final judgment. Here are the behaviors you can keep in mind throughout and after the case proceedings:
- Be Honest: As a defendant, it’s an excellent behavior if you are honest with your lawyer. Disclose all the facts you think are necessary for the case so that your attorney can prepare his/her defense in court. If you’re not completely honest with your attorney, they may not be able to defend you and your business – and a judgment against you will be immediately enforced.
- Attend All The Trials: Your presence as the defendant is vital in all trial proceedings because you’ll have the opportunity to raise your contentions against the accusations by the plaintiff. You can present your counter-claims and other pieces of evidence that prove your innocence. Aside from these, you can also cross-examine the plaintiff’s witnesses if needed. That way, you’re given your day in court, and the judge can decide the case reasonably without bias.
- Focus On Your Business And Try To Stay Calm: Don’t let the lawsuit affect your business. Continue your operations and stay focused on what you need to do to run your business smoothly. Simply remain calm as your lawyer will do their best to safeguard your legal rights.
So when you face a legal action against your business, these are the things you need to consider legally. If you want to protect your business and your reputation against unnecessary claims, don’t hesitate to exercise your rights under the law – and take every step along the way to ensure your business’s credibility during this legal battle.
Don is a law enthusiast who’s had over 25 years of experience in his field. He currently writes for Abels & Annes, P.C. – Chicago and enjoys sharing his experiences with those who want to learn more about the legal world. In his spare time he spends quality time with his family and friends.