There are a myriad satisfying, exciting and personally fulfilling things about owning your own business.
There are also plenty of things that keep you up at night.
One of those sleep-depriving concerns is the fear of being sued. Even a modest lawsuit can rack up expensive legal bills that can severely harm a small business – perhaps force it into bankruptcy.
At the risk of minimizing the serious nature of a lawsuit – and pardon me for grasping for a sports metaphor, but – sometimes the best defense is a good offense.
Take proactive steps to help your business avoid finding it situations that can lead to lawsuits. The big headline is pretty obvious: do things right, treat people properly and try to rectify any problems swiftly.
Beyond that, here are a few helpful and specific things you can do to avoid lawsuits and to give yourself the tools you need to resolve lawsuits quickly should you face one.
Most legal actions that occur against small business generally concern some manner of contract or agreement dispute. The solution: take copius notes of all discussions and ensure all contracts are signed and witnessed.
Create an Employee Handbook
It’s difficult to hold employees accountable for their at-work actions if you have no document that establishes what their actions should and should not consist of. When you give a new employee a handbook, don’t forget tip number one: sign a document that states that your employee received and read their handbook!
Understand Intellectual Property Laws
Companies covet their logo, tagline and associated branding. And rightly so! Take a moment to study your logo imagery and ensure it does not violate any existing trademarks.
To compare your company’s logo and branding imagery with existing copyrighted material, you can do a quick search of the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office website.
Properly Maintain your Workspace
The likelihood of injury lawsuits from customers and employees can be dramatically reduced by taking a few common sense but vitally important steps toward maintaining your environment.
Keep walkways clear and free of debris, standing water or ice.
Ensure that storage rooms are stocked carefully to minimize spills or falls.
Fill parking lot potholes and keep outdoor spaces clean, safe and well-lit.
Many times, the most effective tool you can employ to avoid a potential lawsuit is an open and frank conversation. A conversation regarding the issue may be uncomfortable, but it will certainly be less expensive and time-consuming than resolving a lawsuit.
Don’t lose sleep over things you can control. Take these steps to help your company avoid a lawsuit. For more tips – or for advice and representation in the event your business is sued – contact us today at Bosserman Law.