Nearly every business faces a lawsuit at some point. The best way to minimize the risks is to plan for them. Sensible policies can help to reduce the factors that lead to litigation. Protecting yourself comes down to how well you structure and manage your operations. Here are four helpful policies to follow.
Insurance policies are your safety net. General liability against accidents on your property could save you thousands in a lawsuit. The same is true of worker’s compensation insurance, which may be mandatory in your area. Depending on your industry, you might also need errors and omissions insurance, product liability, or other coverage. Premiums on multiple policies can add up, but will likely cost you far less than litigation.
When a worst-case scenario is possible, whether it’s over-billing customers or chemical spills in manufacturing, be sure that you’ve identified the risks and put measures in place to prevent or control them. These policies should be put into writing and communicated to employees, along with possible disciplinary action for violating them. This way everyone knows what’s expected and what steps to take if things go wrong. Without written policies, you’re taking a huge gamble with no controls.
Don’t expect that merely printing up these guidelines will force everyone to adhere. One hefty lawsuit can ruin a small company. Be sure that employees retain and live these rules by following up with periodic training to reinforce them. Sessions on safety, appropriate workplace behavior, security, and more should always be repeated to stay on the minds of your staff, including supervisors. Management and HR should always exercise fair and honest hiring, firing, promotion, and performance review practices.
Depending on your industry, you are expected to be in compliance with a variety of government regulations, including safety and tax requirements. If you mess up your business taxes, for instance, you may end up needing a tax fraud lawyer.
To stay in line with safety requirements, you might designate one person to be compliance officer for areas within their expertise, such as a safety engineer for seeing that OSHA rules are observed. Providing a safe and healthy workplace is your obligation: both visitors and employees who suffer injuries may result in sizeable legal claims. Whenever such an incident takes place, employees and customers may consider contacting a personal injury attorney in an effort to get compensation.
It’s always a good idea to develop a working relationship with a good lawyer. They will come to know you and your business well, so that they can offer the most appropriate advice on avoiding lawsuits.