When you’ve put your heart and soul into building and growing a business, the last thing you want to deal with is an unexpected legal hurdle. Lawsuits are often extremely costly for any business, and in more than just monetary terms. The good news is that a NOLA attorney can help protect your company from legal jeopardy if you end up dealing with any of these frequent lawsuit types.
Primary Reasons for Louisiana Business Lawsuits
In some common business lawsuits, your company’s insurance provider will cover the cost through a settlement to the plaintiff, but that isn’t always the case. If you don’t have an experienced business attorney in your corner, a suit that goes to trial can end with extremely hefty fines that may interfere with your ability to continue operations.
Common Reasons That Businesses End Up Dealing With Lawsuits in Louisiana
- Auto accidents. Company vehicles in any collisions that cause an injury or property damage may make your business liable for the victim’s costs. These types of claims are often settled through auto or business insurance, but that may not always be the case with every accident, especially if negligence is involved.
- Breach of contract. A supplier, vendor, or end customer may feel the terms of a contract weren’t met over issues like payment, product delivery, agreed-upon timeframes for project completion, or sharing trade secrets. These cases can be complex and require a strong understanding of Louisiana business laws.
- Discrimination against employees. Employees may sue over perceived discrimination from management of a legally protected class such as age, disability, gender, pregnancy status, race, religion, or sexual orientation.
- Discrimination against customers. Like with employees, customers also have a legal right to sue your business if they are denied service over being a member of the same protected classes mentioned above.
- Intellectual property right infringements. Many companies will vigorously defend their intellectual property, which may result in a lawsuit if you inadvertently use copyrighted material in your business, such as logos, songs, mascots, or photos.
- Employee injuries and workers’ compensation. Workers who develop a sickness due to exposure to dangerous substances or who are hurt in an accident at a job site can utilize the workers’ compensation system to recover a portion of lost wages.
- Premises liability issues. The most common liability issue for a business is when a customer slips and falls due to a wet floor, lack of staircase lighting, broken handrails, etc. and then pursues a personal injury lawsuit. Fixing potential fall hazards as soon as you become aware of them should be a top priority to prevent this sort of lawsuit.
- Product defects. Customers who are harmed by malfunctioning or incorrectly manufactured products may bring a lawsuit against your company. Popular products that reach a large number of consumers may instead involve a class action lawsuit.
- Wage disputes. Paying less than an employee is owed, especially when it comes to calculating overtime, can result in a legal complaint that needs to be untangled in court.
While these are some of the most common reasons a company is sued, this list is by no means definitive. There are plenty of other legal concerns to discuss with an attorney that may cause issues for any number of small business owners. Properly collecting sales tax, ensuring you are following privacy and data security rules for e-commerce, and working within the bounds of marketing laws are also crucial to protecting yourself legally.
Protecting Your Business From Damaging Lawsuits
There are obviously potential financial and legal penalties for your business when a suit is filed against you, but those aren’t the only concerns to keep in mind. Even an unsuccessful lawsuit can lead to serious harm to your business’s reputation, which is why it’s better to avoid the issue altogether ahead of time. Retaining a business litigation attorney is helpful in proactively looking for ways to prevent lawsuits against your business from occurring in the first place.
You may find yourself in a situation where an employee, client, vendor, customer, or even another business is already currently suing you, however. While you shouldn’t panic when you receive a complaint, you do need to take the appropriate actions quickly. One of the biggest mistakes you can make in this situation is to hope the issue will go away on its own or try to represent your company yourself.
No matter what, don’t try to discuss the suit with the plaintiff in any way, even if that person is a current employee. Instead, your best course of action is to work with a trial-ready attorney who can aggressively defend the organization you’ve worked so hard to build. After going over the specifics of the complaint, an attorney can help you strategize the best course of action to defend your company’s reputation and financial security. Your attorney will also handle communication with the plaintiff’s attorney to keep matters civil.
If the case is likely to go to court, your legal representative’s role is to investigate the claim and gather the information necessary to argue your case, such as employee records, training documents, invoices, emails, and other types of evidence. In some situations, such as bogus wrongful termination cases looking for a quick settlement, simply having an attorney to investigate and respond can convince the plaintiff to drop the suit. In other cases, you will need a skilled lawyer to represent you in front of a jury.
Find Help From a New Orleans Business Litigation Attorney
Is your business currently facing a lawsuit, or are you concerned about being sued in the future? Protect your company by consulting an experienced attorney who is dedicated to defending local businesses in court. Find out more by calling us directly to schedule an appointment at 504-500-1111 or get in touch with the Scott Vicknair Law Firm online here.