#4: Assess Your Situation Honestly
No one can blame a small-business owner for getting angry when they've been smacked with a liability lawsuit. However, strong emotions can be counterproductive, so Robert Stetson recommends business owners perform a cost-benefit analysis. "Take a step back and view the dispute as a business problem rather than a legal problem," he says. You might start by asking yourself…
- Why am I going to court?
- How will the time spent on a lawsuit impact my business?
- Can I afford to see the suit to the end?
- Did I make a mistake?
That last one is a tough question to answer, but it may be the most important one to think about, according to David Lilenfeld (@DavidLilenfeld), intellectual property lawyer and founder of Lilenfeld PC. "You’ve got to be able to look yourself in the mirror and say, 'I made a mistake,'" he says. "And not only 'I made a mistake,' but, 'I’m going to do what I can to make it right.'"
Of course, you can settle even if you think you are in the right. In fact, settling is often the smartest and most cost-effective move you can make – unless you count avoiding court altogether. Turn to the next section for tips on preventing professional liability lawsuits.