Opening the mail to discover someone is trying to sue you can make you wish you had never gone into business. You will go through a range of emotions, from surprise to anger to distress. The important thing is to realize that your first reaction might not be your best one.
Avoid taking any action straight away. Sleeping on things can help put them into perspective. Picking up the phone and telling the other party how annoyed or upset you are could make the situation worse.
Consider the long-term view when facing business litigation
Be sure to contemplate how your response will affect your business in the long term. A short-term win could cost you a lot more in the long run.
Here are some things to consider if facing business litigation:
- Consult others: Others in your company can help you examine the issue. They may know things about why the lawsuit has happened that you do not. If there is no one you can trust at work, a good friend or family member might be able to offer non-technical advice. While it is good to talk with others, you need to ensure no one talks about it to anyone else. Radio silence is key.
- Get legal advice: Litigation is a legal matter, so understanding the related laws is crucial. They can help you decide whether the lawsuit has a foundation or is an attempt to scare you or call your bluff. Most cases never make it to court. They can also help you contest it or advise on the likely outcomes of doing so in different ways.
- Collect related materials: To fight a lawsuit, you will need as much relevant evidence as possible. It is better to have too much than too little. Ensure no one destroys anything related to the case, even if you fear it could incriminate you. Destroying evidence could lead to accusations you tried to cover things up.
While business litigation is an ever-present threat, you can avoid it doing unnecessary harm to your business if you handle it correctly.