Business owners have rights when they are being sued. They do not need to simply comply with the claim and settle the matter. When a business owner does not believe that they are responsible for the actions described in the complaint, they have the option to fight the case. These important tips may help business owners survive commercial litigation.
1. Evaluate the Complaint Quickly
After receiving a formal complaint and a summons, the defendant typically has up to 30 days to respond. However, a hearing may be set within a week. Failure to respond to the complaint or appear for the summons will likely result in a default judgment. Reviewing and assessing the complaint quickly will help prevent missing any deadlines.
2. Contact Your Legal Team Quickly
Along with evaluating the complaint immediately, it is important to contact a commercial litigation team. Lawyers need ample time to review the case, gather the facts, and develop a legal strategy.
3. Give Your Lawyers All the Facts
Business owners should not leave any details out when discussing the case with their lawyers. Honesty is essential so that lawyers can properly represent their clients during the lawsuit. There should be no secrets between the business owner and the commercial litigation lawyer.
4. Review Your Insurance Coverage
Depending on the lawsuit, insurance may cover portions of the legal proceedings, including a settlement. Court cases can quickly become costly, with the various legal fees and court fees. Businesses may have insurance policies that provide some form of protection in the event of a lawsuit.
5. Do Not Discuss Details of the Case
Do not talk about the case with friends or staff that are not directly involved in the lawsuit.
These individuals may be required to testify if they have knowledge about the case.
While the defendant should not discuss the case with anyone, but their lawyers, there are a few exceptions. They can discuss the case with their spouse, the clergy, or their doctor. These individuals can help with the stress of the case.
6. Maintain Appropriate Records
Maintain any records that are related to the case, including correspondence with the plaintiff or video records of the incident. Lawyers may also need to obtain witness statements, depending on the details of the case.
These records should be supplied to the lawyers for safekeeping. Do not, under any circumstances, destroy any of the records. This may be illegal if the records are relevant to the lawsuit.
7. Consider the Benefits of a Settlement
Settling with the claimant is not an admission of guilt. There are several benefits to settling a case, instead of taking it to court.
When a business settles, they avoid a lengthy, public trial. This may help the business avoid any negative exposure. Settling the case also allows the company to get back to their normal operations and put the matter in the past.
Being sued is always a serious matter. When your business receives a formal complaint, it is important to act quickly. Always get your lawyers involved early and listen to their advice before making any decisions on your own.