Getting involved in a lawsuit represents a serious expense for any business. While you can’t avoid the possibility of a lawsuit, here are ten things you can do to protect yourself.
1. Make sure your business is set up properly to limit your liability. If your business is a partnership, make sure the partnership is set up properly. The terms of a partnership need to be thought out carefully and discussed with an experienced lawyer.
2. Keep good records. It’s much easier to avoid a “he said” “she said” situation if you actually have the records to prove what was said. Keep all emails, have notes taken or records transcribed at business meetings, and keep records of phone conversations.
3. Carry insurance. Determine what kind of insurance your specific business needs and be sure you’re adequately covered.
4. Have appropriate security protection for your computer network and customer data. A breach that compromises your customer’s information is not only a betrayal of customer trust, it can have grave economic consequences for your business.
5. Monitor all aspects of customer and vendor relationships in order to identify problems before they become serious. These relationships should be governed with carefully written contracts.
6. Maintain up-to-date employee handbooks and have each employee sign to acknowledge receipt of a copy. The employee handbook should include information about termination procedures.
7. Be proactive. If you suspect a lawsuit may be in the offing, investigate the potential complaint and consult your attorney. Have a review procedure in place that will assist you in avoiding disputes.
8. Don’t neglect business contracts. Work requirements and expected payments need to be spelled out clearly for every job you do. You can also outline the mediation and arbitration procedures required in the case of a perceived breach in order to avoid an actual lawsuit.
9. Look back at the past. Do specific activities tend to result in litigation? Are there proven ways of reducing risk in these situations? A thorough analysis may help you to modify your procedures in order to reduce the chances of a lawsuit.
10. Don’t lose it. Avoid losing your temper, especially in writing. Emotions all too often add fuel to the fire of an already bad situation, or even create a bad situation where none existed before. Take a walk or have a coffee break before shooting off that email.
Litigation can be costly and can sometimes damage the reputation of your business, so it’s always wise to minimize your risk. Please contact me today to learn more!