Your Business Is Being Sued – Here’s What To Do

Posted on: June 20, 2016
Arlington civil litigation law firm

Do you ever wake up in a cold sweat, having dreamt that your business is being sued? Despite your best intentions, accidents happen and misunderstandings occur; and before you know it, a disagreement has morphed into a legal claim – nightmares are made of this.

Being sued leads to tension and stress, not to mention the demands on your time and money. However, with the counsel of a commercial law firm, it need not mean the end of the world – or less dramatically, the ruin of your business.

Step-by-step

  1. Act quickly. Strictly follow the legal requirements, including deadlines. Failure to do so may give the claimant a way to obtain a default judgment against you.
  2. Speak to a lawyer, not the person suing you. A director can appear for the company, unless directors have been named separately as defendants, in which case a commercial lawyer will advise whether you will need individual attorneys. Do not admit anything before consulting a lawyer.
  3. Choose a strategy:

3.1 Even if you believe the plaintiff has a flimsy case, it may make sense to settle, both financially and timewise. A compromise offer can prevent both parties from risking time and money proceeding with a court case.

3.2 If you are at fault, it is generally best to consult with interested parties (like your insurers), acknowledge your liability, and then pay the amount in full, or negotiate to make payment in instalments. If you go this route, state at the very beginning of any correspondence that the negotiations are being done without prejudice. Accepting liability and counter-claiming is another possibility.

3.3 Defend the claim only if you have solid legal reasons for doing so. Be careful to defend just the charges which are included in the claim – and nothing more. When describing your version of what happened include as much documented evidence as possible. To avoid unnecessary costs, work with your lawyers to reach agreement with the claimant on as much evidence as possible before the trial starts.

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