As a business owner, few ordeals are as nerve-wracking and potentially damaging to your company's reputation as a lawsuit. Whether it's a disgruntled employee, an unhappy client, or a discontented vendor, the repercussions could be permanently damaging without an attorney by your side. Moreover, a favorable outcome is not always guaranteed, even when you believe that you have a strong case or defense strategy.
Not all business owners have the means to take on lengthy and expensive lawsuits, and the cost is always a factor when considering legal defense. Despite a favorable verdict, the amount of money spent on attorney fees, court costs and discovery proceedings such as depositions may cost more than what the case is worth.
What many business owners do not realize is that, in many instances, a settlement may produce a better result (financially and otherwise) and involves less time and hassle.
Although it may be tempting to fight back every time your business gets sued, there are several ways it can go wrong. If you are in doubt, it's best to receive legal counsel from an expert business law attorney that understands the litigation process and is able to help you weigh the financial risks and rewards of taking a dispute all the way through trial or arbitration.
Steps To Take When Facing A Lawsuit
When responding to a lawsuit, your legal defense strategy makes a difference in how much impact the case will have on your business. A lawyer reviews the details of the situation and gives you sound advice on how to proceed. When you are facing a lawsuit, how you respond determines the outcome of your case.
- Don't respond with emotion but with reason
- Speak to a defense attorney
- Review the case with your attorney and decide on the best course of action
- Respond to the case promptly
Although each case is unique, the steps to address allegations against you remain constant. In some cases, settlement negotiations are your best option. In some cases, however, the only way to address a dispute is by taking the matter to court.
Settlement Vs. Litigation
Although you may want to fight the charges, it is not always the most effective route to take due to the many loopholes that exist in every individual case.
One example is if you have a contractual or statutory obligation to pay the plaintiff's attorney fees in the event you lose at trial. Another is that the plaintiff cannot pay any monetary damages even if they lose at trial. In both cases, you end up spending tens of thousands of dollars without a favorable outcome.
During a settlement, both parties are more likely to reach an amicable resolution. Your attorney should be an expert communicator that knows the best approach to take in a legal emergency, representing you favorably in either scenario.