For owners of a small business in North Carolina, litigation is a statistical likelihood. Businesses have squabbles with other businesses for a vast variety of reasons. Businesses sometimes also get in disputes with customers and consumers. Business disputes are unavoidable, but there are actions to take that can prevent many of them from turning into business litigation. A few of these are stated below.
Have employee contracts in place and an employee handbook with clear-cut procedures, rules and general goals and visions. Contacts with employees must be documented for accuracy. Employees should be treated with respect and each one should be given unlimited opportunities to excel without a hint of favoritism or illegal impediments.
Have your business arrangements set forth in writing. Transactions with other companies will generally require contracts for each discrete sale, purchase, joint venture or other formal business project. Have a professional prepare, review and protect your intellectual property such as patents, trademarks and copyrights.
A business should generally load up on appropriate insurance. This may include malpractice, premises liability, product liability, auto, fire, theft and any particular protections endemic to the business. Protect personal assets by incorporating or starting a limited liability company. For all of the foregoing, use a professional to do things in the most effective and appropriate manner.
A business should not skimp on the basics. For example, trying to draw up one’s own contracts can lead to more trouble and expenses in the long run. Additionally, when a business dispute begins to simmer, it is advisable to consult with a good business litigation attorney. Surprisingly, this will likely keep the chances of litigation down. That is because it is generally the better choice to resolve business disputes prior to litigation.
The court process in North Carolina and everywhere else exposes a business to the risk of losing more than the business should be prepared to lose. Settlement is usually the key objective, with clear benefits over business litigation. Of course, there are those few critical times when litigation is necessary as a last resort in an irresolvable conflict.
Source: Forbes, “You’re Going To Get Sued“, Basha Rubin, July 14, 2014