When it comes to protecting our family, it is instinct. This is the same for our “babies” that are our businesses. You put your entire life’s energy and, in some cases, life savings into starting and running a successful business. The instinct to protect it is inherent and comes from the desire or need to protect your and your family’s well-being.
So what happens when a lawsuit threatens your business? Being a business owner opens you up to many issues that can arise if laws aren’t followed, and in some cases, even if all laws and rules are followed—topics such as a customer disagreement, a lawsuit with a competing business, and more.
Don’t let a lawsuit lead you astray; take the focus off of operating your successful business. You are not alone in your strong desire to protect your “baby,” and we are here to help. Read below to learn more about the most common business lawsuits and how we can help.
Labor and Employment Disputes
You likely have a few or several employees when you operate a business. By having employees, you can potentially open up yourself to labor and employment issues. For example, sexual harassment in the workplace has been an ongoing issue for decades, and wages and hour laws are a massive factor in operating an effective business. Wrongful discharge of employees can be an issue, or maybe your trade secrets were unlawfully shared by an employee.
Employment discrimination or wrongful termination also can lead to issues with federally protected rights. The Civil Rights act protects employees from being discriminated against. The Equal Pay Act requires employers to pay men and women equally. The Americans with Disabilities Act prohibits discrimination based on disabilities. These are just a few examples of when an employer can face a lawsuit should they not comply with laws protecting employees.
All of the examples above can lead to lawsuits that can take your time, energy, and focus away from keeping your business on track and thriving. Understanding all the laws that apply to running a business is crucial to keeping yourself from being involved in a lawsuit.
Intellectual Property Disputes
Intellectual property in a business can be your trademarks, copyrights, or patents associated with your company and the unlawful use of them by another. One of the most valuable assets a business has is its intellectual property.
Suppose you have created a specific way of manufacturing an item or invented one. Competitors may find it appealing to access your trade secrets, so they can undermine your skills and create a competing product as a source of income for themselves. This would be an example of an intellectual property issue. These happen more often than one would think and can create disastrous circumstances for the business’s livelihood.
Personal Injury Lawsuits
Many suits that are commonly filed against businesses are based on personal injury. The place of business must be kept safe for all customers and employees to help avoid slips, trips, and falls as personal injuries. If a customer is significantly hurt, this can lead to a devastating lawsuit for the business owner, especially if negligence is proven in the lawsuit. Three essential items must be proven to establish negligence in a personal injury case, and they are; 1. a duty of care owed by the business to the customer and 2. that duty was breached, which 3. caused harm to the customer.
It is also important to actively maintain work vehicles and provide sufficient safety training for those driving them for deliveries. Injuries caused by work vehicles can lead to business owners’ lawsuits and potentially high costs to the business.
It can be especially invaluable to thoroughly investigate the insurance policies that can help you to mitigate personal injury issues at your business. Insurance isn’t foolproof, as problems can still arise, but it may help you avoid some common ones and help protect your business.
How Can a Legal Issue Impact my Business?
There may be some obvious answers to this question, but also some that you may not have yet thought of. Legal matters can cost you money, but they may also cost you, customers, in the long run. If a legal issue makes it to social media or traditional media outlets, it can create distrust in your customer base, regardless of the outcome. This can lead to fewer sales in the short term and losing valuable recurring customers in the long run.
Due to the time constraints of being in court to handle legal matters, you may miss crucial deadlines in production or be unable to complete work that has been scheduled. Suppose meeting deadlines is imperative, and you are taking additional time to work with attorneys and present yourself in court or answer legal matters. In that case, this takes valuable time away from the success of your business.
Damages to your reputation or your relationships with other businesses are also an essential aspect to consider. If you rely on other firms to help you finalize your projects, for example, shipping companies or manufacturing partners, they may be less willing to work with you should legal matters arise.
How Can Attorneys Help?
As you can see, a myriad of legal business issues can occur that can quickly derail your success. Don’t leave your “baby” be left to guesswork. Consult an experienced attorney to discuss the specifics and get your questions answered and professional legal guidance regarding the next steps.
Contact our Denver office at (303) 564-7313 to speak with our team of attorneys, that are prepared to assist you.