Trademark infringement, a customer mishap, wrongful termination, lease violations, product liability -- your business can be sued for any number of reasons, and once the papers are filed in court, you don't get to dismiss those reasons as frivolous. You need to treat the lawsuit as something that can destroy your business because that's the truth. But by taking the proper steps in response, you can:
- Have lawsuits without merit dismissed and your lawyer's fees reimbursed.
- Protect the standing of your business in the community.
- Keep your business functioning both during the lawsuit and afterwards.
Hire a lawyerPresumably you already have a lawyer who's helped you with business organization or arbitrated disputes, but if not -- and a lawsuit has socked you from nowhere -- now's the time to get one.
Try to stay out of courtBeing served with a lawsuit doesn't automatically mean a day in court. Do what you can to resolve the problem before the court date arrives.
Prepare your evidenceClaiming your innocence isn't enough. You need to provide proof that will convince a judge or jury to support you.
Ready your testimonyEvidence doesn't always stand on its own. You, your employees, and others might be called to the witness stand -- by either side in the lawsuit -- to answer questions. Your lawyer should help you prepare for this situation ahead of time.
- Be courteous at all times in the courtroom. Your demeanor can be as important as the evidence in the eyes of the judge and jury.
- Check your business insurance policy to see whether it covers lawsuit fees. Some policies partially cover these costs.
- Learn how to give your testimony in layman's terms, avoiding business lingo and explaining technical details whenever needed.