Operating a business always comes with legal risks, including the possibility of business litigation. You can rely on the business litigation lawyers at Kramer Green to help you take the necessary steps to avoid costly and extensive business disputes. However, if your business becomes involved in a legal matter despite your best efforts, we will not hesitate to represent your interests in any resulting legal matters.
Although there are no ironclad guarantees that you can avoid all litigation, there are measures that you can take as a business owner to reduce or prevent business litigation. Here are some steps you can take as a business owner to help minimize the chance of becoming involved in litigation.
Get Everything in Writing
You may be tempted to forego written contracts and agreements, especially if you operate a smaller business or are dealing with local business contacts or people you know well. However, failure to have agreements in writing can be detrimental if a business dispute later arises. Whether purchasing supplies, contracting for services, or renting office space, you need a written contract that spells out each party’s legal rights and responsibilities. Otherwise, even small misunderstandings can lead to lengthy, expensive disagreements in court.
Carry Adequate Amounts of Insurance
Insurance is necessary, even if Florida law does not require you to carry it in various situations. For example, if you operate a professional practice, carry malpractice insurance. If you own a building, maintain commercial property insurance. If your business owns vehicles, purchase commercial vehicle insurance. Having the right insurance coverage in place can go a long way to protect your business and your assets if an accident or other incident occurs. If sufficient coverage is available to pay a claim, then you may be able to avoid a lawsuit altogether.
Establish and Follow Employment Policies and Procedures
No matter how big or small your business may be, you should have an employee handbook and clearly written policies on matters that affect your employees, including:
- Hours, wages, and pay dates
- All available benefits, including health insurance, disability insurance, life insurance, 401(k) plans, and other fringe benefits
- Leave time, including accrual, usage, carryover, and disposition upon the termination of employment
- Grounds for disciplinary action, up to and including termination, as well as disciplinary procedures
- Employment discrimination and sexual harassment
- Employment-related travel policies and forms
- Noncompete or confidentiality agreements
All employees should receive a copy of the employee handbook upon hiring and any updates to that handbook after that. A good policy is to have employees sign an acknowledgment that they have received the handbook and subsequent updates to the handbook.
More importantly, businesses with employee handbooks and written employment policies should always follow those policies. Failure to follow those policies can result in legal claims that your business treats employees differently. Therefore, you should not only establish clear employment policies, but you should ensure that you and your management employees strictly follow those policies.
Keep Good Records
Keeping good records can be key to avoiding many different types of litigation. For instance, if you have a negative interaction with a patient, client, or customer, you should document the interaction in detail to have clear records of what occurred. Likewise, if a dispute arises with an employee, you should document the incident, preferably with another staff member, and keep the documentation in the employee’s personnel file.
Generally, keeping written notes and records of business meetings, email correspondence, and even phone conversations related to business matters is good practice. Keeping written documentation of these meetings or exchanges can avoid misunderstandings and disputes about who said what during these interactions.
Hire A Business Litigation Attorney
As a business owner, you need to retain the services of a business litigation attorney even when you are not facing a lawsuit or becoming involved in a legal dispute. You should have your lawyer review all your business contracts, employee handbooks, and other legal documents related to your business on at least an annual basis. Federal and state laws frequently change, and you want to ensure that your business documents comply with current laws.
Allow Us to Help You Protect Your Business Today
The business litigation attorneys of Kramer, Green, Zuckerman, Greene & Buchsbaum, P.A. are ready to assist you in protecting your business from the expense and time involved in litigation. We know how hard you have worked to build your business and want to help you preserve it.
As a result, our objective is to take any actions necessary to protect your business for your and your family’s benefit. Contact our office today at (954) 966-2112 or reach out to us online to schedule a time to discuss your legal issues with our attorneys.