Lawsuits are inevitable for most businesses in South Dakota. Disputes can arise between a business and a competitor, customer, supplier, partner, or current or former employee.
Therefore, it's essential that you address any lawsuit filed against your business and meet all required deadlines - lawsuits don’t just go away by ignoring them. Proactively addressing the lawsuit early and head-on can help you avoid a bad outcome for your business.
Here are five tips on surviving a lawsuit:
Tip #1 - Make Sure You're Being Sued
Before a lawsuit is ever filed, a business may receive a "Demand Letter" or "Cease and Desist Letter" that is basically a warning shot across your bow. Because the language in these letters is serious, you may presume a lawsuit has been filed against your business. If you have received one of these letters from a law firm, you have not been sued (yet). If you receive a copy of a complaint that contains the names of the parties and the court, then you are likely being sued.
Tip #2 - Don’t Wait
After your business is served with a lawsuit, you have a short amount of time in which to respond to the lawsuit. If you fail to respond within this timeframe, the other party can ask for a default judgment against you. If granted, the default judgment will allow the other party to begin collection proceedings against your business. Delaying your response will put you at a serious disadvantage since your attorney will need time to review the suit, talk with the opposing attorney, and develop your response.
Tip #3 - Hire An Attorney
You don’t want to hire just any attorney - you want one with extensive litigation experience in handling cases similar to yours.
Tip #4 - Don’t Contact The Other Side
You may think you can work things out on your own, but if someone has gone to the trouble and expense of filing a lawsuit against you, that is unlikely. Contacting the party suing you can hurt your case as you may say or do something that helps them and hurts you. Let your attorney handle all communications with the opposing party.
Tip #5 - Decide What You Want To Accomplish
Deciding what you want to happen will set the strategy for responding to the lawsuit. Do you just want it to go away? Do you want to fight the lawsuit? What are the considerations for protecting important company information? How much can you afford to spend? Is insurance a factor?
Do You Need To Speak With An Experienced Business Law Attorney?
If you need to speak with an experienced business law attorney please feel free to contact us online or call our office directly at 888.864.9981. We will be happy to discuss your legal options!