SMALL BUSINESS LAWSUITS: WHAT ARE MY CHANCES OF GETTING SUED?
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Starting and running your own business can be incredibly rewarding, but it is also inherently risky. Maybe you’re doing something entirely new and putting your money, time and dreams on the line to make it a success. But sometimes things don’t go as planned. Getting sued, for example, could destroy everything you have worked so hard to build. So, what are your chances of getting sued? What can you do to protect your business?
The threat of a lawsuit is very real: over 100 million cases are filed in the US state courts every year. To assess your chances of being sued, the first step is to figure out where you could potentially be liable or otherwise legally responsible. Contract disputes are a very common source of liability for businesses and this liability expands when you have employees. Even your own success may expose you to lawsuits as competitors could file claims for infringement of logos, which is very common as business owners neglect to file a registered trademark for their logo or name.
WHAT WILL A LAWSUIT COST YOU?
The cost of a lawsuit will depend heavily on the cause of action, whether or not you proceed to trial, and if you win or lose. Pursuing a lawsuit in any capacity can be an expensive endeavor: hiring a lawyer, court filing fees, and discover; it all adds up fast and that doesn’t even include the trial itself. The median costs for a business lawsuit start at $55,000 and can reach well over $100,000.
HOW CAN YOU PROTECT YOURSELF?
There will always be some risk that goes along with being a business owner, but that should not discourage you. Here are simple ways to protect yourself and mitigate some of the potential damage:
- Incorporate your business – this can limit your personal exposure
- Consider alternative dispute resolutions in your contracts – this can avoid the high costs of trial.
- File for registered trademarks for your business name and logo – this could save you thousands and time in rebranding your business.
- Always keep a good business attorney on retainer – never make business decisions without talking to your business attorney first.
For more information on how to legally protect your business please pick up a copy of my bestselling book: ‘Go Legal Yourself’ on Amazon or visit my website at www.golegalyourself.com
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