As an entrepreneur, being sued can be a very disheartening and stressful experience. This is especially the case when the complaint being made against you is unfair or simply malicious. Though it is very easy to lose your cool when facing a lawsuit, the first thing you need to do is stay calm and collected. To get through the legal process successfully, it is imperative that you approach the lawsuit in a methodical and rational manner.
Here are some of the things you should do when facing litigation:
1. Take immediate action
When facing a law suit, many business owners make the mistake of minimizing its significance. Instead of acting right away, they turn a blind eye and assume the problem will go away by itself. However, failing to take immediate action could have a very detrimental effect on your business. The court is likely to rule in favor of the complainant, which means that you’ll lose the case even if the law suit was not justified.
2. Get legal counsel
Lawsuits give you a specified time period within which you have to respond. Though this might seem like a long time, it is usually a tight deadline considering the groundwork that needs to be done before going to court. Therefore, the first thing you need to do when facing litigation is to hire the services of an attorney that is qualified in the case involved.
3. Collect information
A qualified attorney will ask you to submit a wide range of documentation and information which is relevant to the lawsuit. This could be anything from contracts, bills and invoices to letters and emails. In addition, you might be required to submit a written statement of your response to the claims of the lawsuit, as well as a list of witnesses with their contact details. Be sure to respond to your attorney’s requests as fast as possible. This will give them sufficient time to prepare a defence.
4. Stay involved
Many business owners make the mistake of detaching themselves from the legal process and leaving everything to the attorney. However, though the attorney will do the donkey work, you will need to remain involved through the whole process. The legal journey could take weeks, months or even years. To enhance your chances of success, make sure you are on top of things all along.
5. Seek an out of court settlement
At times, lawsuits drag on for months or even years, eventually costing you a lot of money in attorney fees and lost business. If you think the lawsuit you are facing is taking too long to resolve, you could consider the possibility of reaching an out of court settlement with the plaintiff. This will not only save you money, but also the time you would have spent in court. However, this does not mean that you should give in to every demand. Ask your attorney to negotiate an agreement which is mutually beneficial to both parties.
See also: 6 Ways to Avoid Employee Lawsuits
Have you faced a lawsuit before? How did you deal with it? Let us know in the comments section below.