What to do if Your Business Gets Sued
As a small business offering goods and services to customers, unfortunately, you may have to experience the legal system firsthand if a customer is unsatisfied and mad about their experience with your business. There are multiple reasons why a company could get sued, such as a breach of contract, slip-and-fall accidents, premises liability, and intellectual property rights. No matter the reason, if your company gets sued, there are a few things you should keep in mind to survive the lawsuit.
Do not ignore the Complaint
Don’t start the lawsuit out on the wrong foot by simply ignoring the Complaint and Summons. Receiving a Complaint means the document is on file in the court system. The opposing attorney is not going to forget the problem, so you should not either. In most cases, failure to respond to a Complaint and Summons within the allotted time results in a default judgment against your business. The consequences could be grave when a default judgment is granted by the court. The plaintiff and their attorney can collect money, foreclose on business real estate, and freeze the business’ bank accounts if the court deems it appropriate. In sum, take the Complaint seriously by being diligent and prompt to respond and seek council accordingly.
Do not directly contact the plaintiff
When receiving a Complaint that a past customer is suing you, you may be inclined to call up the customer and talk it through with them. However, by communicating with the plaintiff, you may be putting yourself in jeopardy. Anything you say to them can be used against you during the lawsuit, so it is best to speak directly to your business attorney about the lawsuit and let them reach out to the plaintiff’s attorney.
Instead of trying to focus on what is out of your hands, such as the plaintiff’s case against you, focus on what you can control. This means continuing to make your company an upstanding and great business. Continue striving for excellence in your business, showing you are truly committed to everyone’s best interests by providing goods and services that customers seek to buy.
Preserve all documents pertaining to the case
With a lawsuit, it is key to be organized. You should know where all documents and related files are pertaining to the case. It is easy to feel overwhelmed and indignant when the case starts out and all the facts are being reviewed. Do not try to hide or destroy any documents, emails, and all other data concerning the lawsuit, whether you think it will hurt your case or not. The court could charge you with spoliation, making it even more difficult to defend yourself.
Contact a Litigation Attorney
One of the most important things to do when dealing with the legal system is to hire experienced legal counsel. Most lawyers specialize in a certain area, whether that’s family law, business law, intellectual property law, among others. Having a knowledgeable business attorney in your corner will give you a fighting chance in the lawsuit. A lawyer will clearly explain your options, walk through the legal jargon of all of the court papers, and litigate or settle on your behalf to make sure you and your business are heard and protected. Contacting and hiring a litigation attorney is a great investment if you find yourself and your business in a lawsuit situation.
DYE CULIK PC is a Charlotte, North Carolina small business and franchise law firm. Our attorneys represent businesses, franchises, and entrepreneurs for everything from starting a business, to buying or selling a business, to disputes and litigation with competitors, employees, and customers. Give us a call at 980-999-3557 if you need help or legal advice for your small business. Follow us on Instagram for the latest updates on CLT small businesses.