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Running a business of any kind is a wonderful experience, but make no mistake about it, there are also many risks involved. A wrong move here or an accident there and your business could face huge problems in a court of law. No business owner ever thinks they will get sued, but there are a multitude of things that can happen, from an injured employee through to a furious customer who believes your product or service has damaged them in some way.
So, when the proverbial hits the fan, what do you do as a business owner? I’m going to take a look at everything you can expect to happen, and reveal some simple tips on how to reduce the impact of a compensation claim or litigation issue. Let’s get started right away.
You need to contact your lawyer as soon as possible, even if there is only a whiff of possible litigation in the air. An experienced attorney will be able to review every aspect of your case and lay out a plan of action for you. Try to avoid doing anything until you speak with your lawyer, as any reply you make could go against your case. Which brings us to my next point – never communicate directly with the person you are up against.
Once someone decides to sue your business, any communication between you could be used as evidence in court. Ask any attorney and they will tell you the same thing – never contact the plaintiff or attempt to communicate with them, as it will only go against you. Both of you should have legal representation, and all communication should be done through the proper channels.
On your lawyer’s advice it might be worth offering a settlement out of court. Not only will it save you the rigmarole and costs of a court case, but it will also limit the damage you might experience in terms of your public persona. Going down the structured settlement route might be a good idea, too. But what is a structured settlement? And how can it help you deal with compensation in a better way? Well, first of all, offering structured settlements means you won’t have to pay quite as much compensation. The payments will be spread out over time and the plaintiff will accept lower payments for the guarantee they will get their money later on down the line. This will help you carry on your business, as paying out the full amount could destroy everything you have built up so far.
Finally, it’s important to contact your insurer to explain what is going on, too. If you are sensible, you will have the right level of cover for your business, whether it’s professional liability or general liability insurance. Failing to report your problem will only cause you trouble later on down the line when you need to make a claim. However, you should also be aware that your insurer might not cover all payments, so that first call will lay out exactly what you need to do.
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