There are good companies that have had to shut down because of lawsuits, and for those that win the process is draining and expensive. The good news is that you can increase your ability to stay out of court by taking certain proactive steps.
Keeping Your Business Out Of Court
Going to court to settle disputes should generally be a last resort. It’s not always possible to stay out of court, but it should be avoided, if possible. The idea here is prevention. Just as you protect your health by exercising, eating right and getting regular checkups, there are things that you can do to protect your legal health and avoid costly court battles.
As a plaintiff, getting a good result in court can be expensive, emotionally-draining, and distracting – even if you think you have a mythical “slam dunk” case. Lawsuits take a lot of time and can become a strain on any business.
As a defendant, it’s even worse. Not only do you not have control of the lawsuit, but the cost of defending a lawsuit can threaten your business or put you out of business. Not a good situation.
Get Proactive Legal Counsel: One of the best ways to stay out of court is to have proactive legal counsel. By that, we mean you want to talk to a lawyer early to try to nip problems in the bud or just to understand your overall legal rights so you know how to avoid trouble spots that you might not be aware of. The affordableLaw Legal Program is a good place to start.
Use Clear, Understandable Contracts: Many disputes end up in court because a contract was ambiguous or non-existent and the people involved assumed different things. By having clear, understandable contracts, you can clear up any misunderstandings and expose assumptions before they lead to trouble down the road.
Build A Strong Legal Position: If you have a strong legal position, it’s easier to resolve disputes as they arise. Often, the other person will be more inclined to settle things rather than deal with someone who has all their ducks in a row, so to speak. Building a strong legal position means getting things in order with regard to contracts, copyrights, trademarks, etc.
Don’t Assume Bad Faith: We have noticed things escalate when one person assumes that the other is intentionally doing them harm, when in fact there might just be a miscommunication or a misunderstanding of legal rights on one side or another.
These are all preventative measures. Even if you do everything right, there is no guarantee that you will be able to stay out of court.
OK, and here is the most important part of this post, read it: even though you want to try to stay out of court, if you have a real legal dispute or you think you might, do NOT hesitate to contact a lawyer so that you can understand your options.
Many legal claims have a “statute of limitation” that prevents you from bringing a lawsuit if you wait too long. These range from one year, to many years. Ultimately, deciding whether or not to go to court is a serious matter and should be made with the help of an experienced legal counsel.