Every business owner in the Unites States shares the same universal nightmare: being sued. Unfortunately, being involved in litigation occasionally escapes the hypothetical and becomes a harsh reality. If your business is sued in Pennsylvania, what can you expect, and what steps should you take? Here’s what to do if your business has been sued in Pennsylvania.
What Happens When Your Business is Sued
There are many reasons a business might get pulled into a lawsuit, regardless of the industry they serve. Of course, some business types are more prone to litigation than others. According to Institutional Risk Analytics, industrial firms bore the brunt of business lawsuits in 2010. During the mortgage crisis, the banking industry was another major defendant. But no matter what your business does, the same basic steps unfold when your company is being sued.
First, you will be served with legal papers notifying you of the lawsuit. At this juncture, it is best to call a business defense attorney prior to taking any further action. Proceeding under the guidance of an experienced commercial litigation lawyer can help to prevent you from unwittingly incriminating yourself through words or actions.
Once you have been served with the actual hard copy of the lawsuit, which will arrive either through personal delivery or via mail, it is up to you to begin the process of defending your interests in the case. Again, this demonstrates how critical it is to promptly retain the services of an experienced and local business defense attorney. If you do not attempt to contest the accusations against your company, a binding legal judgment may be entered against you. If a judgment is entered against you, you lose your chance to fight back in court.
How to Begin the Process of Defending Your Business
So far, you have been served with a complaint and you have decided to contest the charges rather than accept them. What actions should you take to help bolster your position and limit your exposure against a lawsuit?
Contact an attorney immediately. The sooner you contact a business attorney, the better they can evaluate and prepare your case. In addition to being better prepared, acting fast also minimizes your chances of missing important deadlines which could later hinder your case. Collect any pertinent documents and share them with your attorney, who can use the information you share to help build your defense argument. Do not destroy any documents. Save everything, because you never know what piece of data may help you later in court.
Evaluate countersuit potential. An attorney can help you evaluate whether your situation has any countersuit potential: for example, if your business has grounds to allege defamation or libel as a response to the original lawsuit.
Consider settling. Again, your lawyer can help you weigh the pros and cons of opting for a settlement. While not all scenarios will be appropriate for a settlement, when correctly utilized, settlements have the potential to save you money. While that may sound counterintuitive, settlement expenses are frequently lower than the costs associated with ongoing litigation, particularly in cases which drag for long periods of time.
If your business is being sued, it is natural to feel anxious, angry, and overwhelmed. It is important to try to control your emotions and approach the situation from a rational and practical perspective. If your business has been sued in Pennsylvania, time is of the essence. You can contact us online or call (610) 889-3200 (ext. 1) to schedule a consultation with one of our experienced business defense attorneys.
For more information about how to begin the process of selecting an attorney or local counsel after your business is sued, read out resource page “My Company is Being Sued in Pennsylvania“