While many people think of business-related lawsuits as mostly being squabbles between massive corporations, small business owners are equally susceptible to legal action. In fact, according to entrepreneur.com, small businesses who make an average of $1 million in annual revenue can expect to spend about $20,000 per year in legal fees. Some businesses end up paying far more than this amount, leading to their ultimate closure.
Unfortunately, the threat of litigation is not expected to go away any time soon, with small businesses actually seeing an increase in lawsuits over the past few years. As such, it is important for business owners to be aware of potential vulnerabilities and prepare for a worst-case scenario.
The most common and damaging types of litigation that small businesses encounter include:
- Employment lawsuits: These actions stem from some sort of violation in your approach to employment, such as wage and hour claims, discrimination lawsuits, unpaid overtime claims, sexual harassment suits, and more. Since the exact laws regarding proper employment practices will vary from state to state, it is imperative you make yourself aware of these regulations and adhere to them to the best of your ability to protect yourself against costly litigation.
- Intellectual property disputes: Intellectual property such as copyrights, trademarks, and patented products can be the subject of litigation if they are used in an improper manner or without the owner’s permission. Even using a logo found on the internet can expose you to accusations of intellectual property theft and cause you to be held liable for possible damages. Always double check before using any sort of intellectual property for your business.
- Fraud: Fraud lawsuits usually stem from some form of a deliberate dishonest act, such as intentionally misleading customers or abusing confidential information to gain an unfair advantage. If you have any doubt regarding the legality of your business’ practices, be sure to consult with an attorney.
- Contract disputes: Violating the terms of a legally-binding contract with a vendor, supplier, or client can cause your business to be held responsible for any damages that should result. To minimize your risk of being held liable for breach of contract, be sure to draft all agreements in a clear and legally sound manner with the assistance of a legal professional.
Protect Yourself From Liability – Call (404) 913-7415
If your small business is facing a lawsuit of any kind, or if you fear you may be vulnerable to impending legal action, the Atlanta small business attorneys at Buckley Beal LLP can help. Having earned multiple Super Lawyers® inclusions and a 5.0 out of 5.0 AV® Preeminent™ Rating by Martindale-Hubbell® for our unmatched excellence and legal skill, our team of advocates have what it takes to protect your best interests.
Call us or fill out an online form today to schedule a confidential case review.