Remember, prevention is better than cure. Having a lawyer at the ready assures you to run your business without worries.
Starting a business is the first step in a challenging journey across the turbulent sea of laws and regulation. It’s not only the big corporations that have to worry about getting sued, but small businesses do as well. As your company grows, you’ll encounter dissatisfied employees, angry customers, dishonest suppliers, and cunning competitors that will bring you to your wit’s end.
Thankfully, you can prevent these grueling scenarios with one straightforward step: hiring a trustworthy lawyer. Here are five common legal claims you might encounter in the course of running your small business. It pays to have a lawyer on-call for any of these situations:
1. Breach of Contract
Breach of contract is the violation of any terms in an agreement. It can also be the failure to deliver one of the terms stated in the contract. It is a broad term that spans a wide spectrum, from delayed payments to providing defective goods.
There are four types of contract breaches, namely:
- A material breach is one party’s failure to perform its obligations or failure to deliver it on time.
- A minor breach occurs when a party manages to complete the deliverable but fails to fulfill part of his obligation.
- An anticipatory breach isn’t necessarily an actual violation. It happens when a party states that it will not fulfill its part of the contract.
- An actual breach is the most severe type. The party in question has already committed the violation but still refuses to respect the contract terms.
Note that a breach of contract can both violate a written or oral agreement. However, it is harder to prove an oral breach as there is no tangible evidence that exists. That said, parties can settle the matter on their own or take the issue to court.
As a business owner, be mindful when signing your name on any piece of paper. Whether you’re hiring someone or dealing with a supplier, double-check every word on every page. If you find yourself caught in a legal dispute, a contract breach attorney can help you prepare the defense or initiate the lawsuit. More importantly, he can give you legal advice, draft contracts, and optimize your terms to reflect your company’s best interests.
2. Employee Complaints
Many things go about in the workplace. You have to be careful about making decisions, especially if it involves people. Unfortunately, you can’t please everyone, no matter how fair you are. Employees can sue their employers for harassment, unfair pay, wrongful termination, and discrimination due to gender, age, religion, or disability. These scenarios are a pretty common occurrence for small businesses. When it happens, a lawyer can help reinforce your defense and ensure that your assets are protected.
3. Employee Injury or Sickness
Nobody knows when an accident can happen, and this type of legal dispute occurs even when you don’t have complete control over the situation. To prevent this from happening, always make sure to keep your safety protocols up-to-date. Don’t hesitate to buy protective equipment for your people, and if applicable, follow all OSHA protocols. And if one of them gets sick, don’t skimp on mandatory worker’s compensation coverage. But if you find yourself in a legal proceeding because of this, having an attorney can help mitigate the penalties you’ll face.
4. Intellectual Property Right Disputes
While the cases above primarily involve people, this one deals with intangible aspects of a business. Trademark infringement is a serious offense, but thankfully, it is easily remedied with a cease-and-desist letter. However, some companies might be brave enough to contest your claim on a logo or a motto. A lawyer can help you prepare the resources to fight for your trademark in court when that happens. More importantly, he can help register your trademark to secure your claim on it. Also, he can set up preventive measures against possible breaches you might unknowingly encounter against the intellectual property of others.
5. Partnership Disputes
No matter how long you’ve worked together or how much you trust your partner, business is still a business. Misunderstandings happen, and sometimes, things can spiral out of control. If it does, you might find yourself in court dealing with a partnership agreement breach, violation of non-compete or compete for disclosure clauses, and compensatory disagreements. These matters tend to be technical in legal terms that only a lawyer can save you from such a mess.
Many businesses still encounter fraud and legal dispute issues despite efforts to provide quality services. The thing is, you can never please everyone. Sooner or later, someone will go against you and try to bring you down. But don’t worry. Remember, prevention is better than cure. Having a lawyer at the ready assures you to run your business without worries.