There’s no way to guarantee that your business will never incite legal action, and being sued can be costly in reputational, monetary and emotional respects. As a business owner, there are ways you can try to minimise the risk of litigation and the costs associated with this. Here we’ll discuss some of the protocols you should put in place to avoid legal disputes from the outset.
Produce clear and concise agreements
Creating clearly written agreements is vital for conducting business with other parties, as it’s not uncommon for well-established companies to agree to incomprehensible contracts. It’s worth taking time to produce detailed contracts that are easy to interpret, as misunderstandings can be costly.
Should issues transpire, agreements in writing outline what the responsibilities and rights are for each party involved. Consider consulting with litigation lawyers and build protection into your contracts – they can also assist with any complications and try to resolve them before things escalate.
Treat your employees fairly
It’s not just suppliers and clients that you need to make sure you deal with carefully but also your employees. There are many reasons for an employee deciding to take legal action against you, such as if they experience harassment, discrimination and unfair dismissal to name but a few. By being respectful, fair and lawful in your employment practices, you can greatly reduce the risk of an employee suing your business.
Review your insurance policy
Accidents that ensue at your premises or as a result of the operations of your business can be detrimental if the individual involved decides to file a compensation claim. Whilst insurance isn’t a popular subject of conversation, it’s something that all businesses should acquire in order to mitigate the risk of litigation. All policies should focus on and correctly reflect your business’s niche. Check whether multiple policies are necessary and if you owe any obligations to the insurance company, such as cooperation expectations and notice requirements.
Do you offer professional services, such as dental, legal, IT, or consultancy services? If a client or third party files a lawsuit, professional indemnity insurance can cover attorney fees, court costs, and settlements or judgments. You might want to consider PI cover for your business to protect your reputation by demonstrating a commitment to quality and accountability.
Product liability insurance covers injuries and property damage caused by defective products. On the other hand, cyber liability insurance covers costs related to cyberattacks and data privacy violations.
Protect your business records
In modern-day practices, company records are mostly stored digitally or online via a cloud-based storage system. Computers are susceptible to viruses, and sensitive data can end up being released if you don’t take the proper safety measures. Preventative measures, such as protection software, should be implemented in these instances in order to prevent a cyber-security breach, and important files should always be backed up to a secure system.
Additionally, implement end-to-end encryption to ensure that only authorized parties can access the data. Regularly review and update user credentials, enforcing strong password policies to reduce security risks. Stay informed about relevant data protection regulations (e.g., GDPR, HIPAA) and ensure your digital files and practices comply with these requirements.
Regularly back up your digital files to secure and separate locations. Automated backups can help ensure data availability in case of data loss or cyberattacks. Furthermore, educate employees about best email security practices to avoid victim to email-based threats.
While the above steps can help reduce the risk of litigation, it’s important to remember that no business is completely immune to legal challenges. Therefore, be prepared, proactive, and responsive to protect your business.