How To Find Out If A Lawsuit Has Been Filed

How To Find Out If A Lawsuit Has Been Filed – What to do if your business is sued Most common business case types during and after litigation Frequently asked questions about business cases Real-life business case examples

A lawsuit is a small business owner’s worst nightmare. Here’s what to do if this happens to you.

How To Find Out If A Lawsuit Has Been Filed

How To Find Out If A Lawsuit Has Been Filed

Your small business has been sued. What will happen now? Lawsuits can be brought by employees, customers, vendors, and even other businesses, but a lawsuit against your company can be very costly, no matter who files it or whether you win or lose. We spoke to legal, human resources and insurance professionals to compile a step-by-step guide to help you with your case and a list of missteps to avoid.

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Please note that this article is not a substitute for legal advice. If your business is sued, we recommend consulting an attorney before taking any action.

If your business has been sued, your first reaction will likely be emotional. This is a normal reaction and it’s important to process your emotions. But taking quick action is even more important. Follow the steps below to initiate the legal process on your part.

The first thing you should do when you receive case documents is to carefully review them with an experienced trade attorney. Braden Perry, partner and attorney of business and litigation attorney Kennyhertz Perry, recommended checking the title and service information on the case to make sure it includes the correct legal entity or person associated with the case.

Perry said that if this information is false in any way, you can withdraw the action entirely. If true, you should continue to review the allegations and file a lawsuit or a protection order. This requires your company to retain any data that may be relevant to legal action.

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“It is extremely important to preserve all records that have any relevance to the case, no matter how tangential,” said Krishna Narine, partner and attorney at Salmon, Riches, Singer & Turchi. “These records include documents and electronic materials such as email and web pages, photos, videos, and audio messages. If you have a document destruction policy, suspend it until you consult with your attorney. Also, if appropriate, take photos and/or videos, and the hours of use of these images.” and make sure you include the date definition.

Many of our experts insisted that what the business owners say about the case could be used against them, so they should not contact the plaintiff.

“Once the lawsuit is filed, you must not communicate with the plaintiff in any way,” said John R. O’Brien, a retired attorney with the Chicago firm of O’Brien, Watters & Davis. “When they file a lawsuit, their time to talk and resolve matters amicably is over, so all communication should be done through your company’s attorney. If the plaintiff is someone you need to contact – if you have a current employee or other company. you must specify.

How To Find Out If A Lawsuit Has Been Filed

Key takeaway: If your business is sued, contact a business attorney to review the case. Do not contact the actor to try to solve the problem yourself.

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There are a variety of business insurance policies available to cover businesses in the event of a lawsuit. Ted Devine, CEO of senior management consulting firm 771 Advisors, said third-party injury claims and defamatory word claims about a competitor are often covered by general liability insurance. Client claims that your work has caused them financial harm are usually covered by a professional liability policy. Employee teams may be covered by workers’ compensation liability insurance or employers’ liability insurance. [Learn how to choose small business insurance.]

“If litigation is covered by your policy, it’s common in your interests to pay for attorney’s fees, court costs, and any settlement or decision you find yourself responsible for. Pay it,” Devine said.

If you believe one of your current policies covers the case, contact your insurer as soon as possible.

“Most insurance policies require that case documents be forwarded to the insurer immediately in order to maintain any insurance coverage …” said David Turner, a partner at Schulten Ward Turner & Weiss. “If the case is closed, the insurer or the insurer’s attorney will defend the case.”

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Turner noted that companies must notify their general counsel of any claims against them, even if an insurance company is involved in the defense of the case.

Did You Know: Most workers’ compensation policies include employer liability insurance, which can protect your company if an employee sues after a work-related injury.

A general liability policy may also cover certain types of lawsuits, but don’t assume this is the case. Turner said business owners should check with their insurance providers to confirm whether the lawsuit is covered, as the specific circumstances of the case may exclude the case from policy.

How To Find Out If A Lawsuit Has Been Filed

If your company has an attorney or your insurer provides one, you don’t need to take this extra step to find someone who can defend your case. However, depending on the complexity of the situation, you may want to find a lawyer who specializes in the type of process you are serving.

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“You want to hire a lawyer who is familiar with the types of claims made in the complaint and, if possible, the court in which the case is filed,” Narine said. “For example, defending a slip and fall lawsuit filed by a customer is fundamentally different from defending a defective product lawsuit. This can be especially important if an employee files a lawsuit because there are a wide variety of employer disputes—employees, some, as many as employment discrimination cases. requires special knowledge”.

Charles Krugel, a labor and management employment lawyer, recommended that you research lawyers thoroughly and seek advice from trusted colleagues. From there, you can assess the quality of the attorney by asking questions such as:

As with any important business matter, the key to keeping the litigation running smoothly is clear and consistent communication. Legal defense is expensive, so you need an experienced and outspoken attorney. “Be wary of lawyers who don’t respond directly to you or try to withhold information from you,” Krugel said.

Keith Dennen, one of Farris Bobango’s attorneys, added that a good attorney should submit frequent case reports in addition to copies of all important questions and correspondence pertaining to the case.

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Tip: Hire a lawyer who knows the type of claims brought against you. Choose an attorney who is honest with you and provides frequent updates on your case.

When you receive a case, you are given a deadline to submit a written response. Deadlines vary from state to state, but are usually within 30 days of submission. Your answer should include the following items:

“In order to make a business decision about how to proceed with the case, you must understand the nature of the claims against you and the potential liability and risks to your business,” said Jessica Gray Kelly, a partner at Freeman Mathis & Gary. . “Litigation costs can skyrocket, so if the demand is for short money only or if there is a non-monetary way to resolve the dispute, this may be a better business option for the company.”

How To Find Out If A Lawsuit Has Been Filed

Kelly recommended asking your attorney to explain the litigation plan, potential exit strategies, and estimated costs at various stages of the process. You should also discuss whether it makes sense to offer alternative dispute resolution to the plaintiff.

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“[Questions] about the pros and cons of continuing the case,” added Merlyne Jean-Louis, a business and leisure attorney at Jean-Louis Law. “Even if you’re not guilty or have broken any law, sometimes it’s good to agree.”

Your level of insurance coverage can affect your placement options. O’Brien recommended that if the claim is not covered, you should determine approximately how much it would cost you to both defend and pay the final verdict if you lose the case. He also noted that opposites can work in your favor.

“Ask your attorney if there is a basis for a counterclaim against the plaintiff or a third party who may assume some or all of the liability,” O’Brien said. “For example, if a customer is sued for a product that was not delivered on time or is defective, it could be the supplier that caused the problem because of delay in delivery of materials or defective material. Or, the plaintiff said, “This is a defensive measure knowing that it has some defect… and this It could just be trying to win the race that goes to court.”

Alternatively, you may wish to file a lawsuit seeking immediate dismissal of all or part of the complaint rather than an answer. If you decide to file a denial request, you must explain why you believe all or part of the lawsuit brought against your company is invalid. A judge will accept or reject motion after the plaintiff

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