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My Business Just Got Sued! Now What?


Thousands of lawsuits are filed in the United States every year, with Florida’s courts seeing numbers in five figures most of the time. A slight majority of them are civil cases, which are cases where a conviction will require a defendant to pay damages instead of serving time in jail. Despite how commonplace they are, lawsuits should always be treated very seriously by business owners. If your company (and/or board of directors) has just been sued, it is crucial to act fast – but not so fast as to be reckless.

The Business Must Have Its Own Attorney

One thing to be aware of is that if a business entity is sued in Florida, the owners and operators are required to retain an attorney whose goal is solely to protect the interests of the business, rather than of the board of directors. A business entity cannot act in its own interests in court, so it must be represented. Failure to do so – for example, if an owner attempts to represent the business themselves – can result in accusations of the unauthorized practice of law.

If your business is not represented properly, the court will treat the situation as if the business has failed to respond to the lawsuit, and issue what is known as a default judgment. A default judgment is when a court rules in favor of one party specifically because the other party has not appeared – and while a default can sometimes be appealed, for certain very specific reasons, it is very rare that such an appeal is successful. Instead of having to navigate such pitfalls, hiring separate attorneys to represent the business and its board or chief executive officer (CEO).

Notify Your Insurer ASAP

In addition to lining up proper representation for all named defendants, it is a good idea to notify your insurance carrier (if you have commercial liability coverage) as quickly as possible. Most Florida insurers have notice requirements, meaning that if you fail to inform them of a pending claim against you or your business, you may lose your coverage entirely. Every policy is different, but in some cases, your insurer can form an integral part of your defense.

Above all else, it is crucial that you fully understand the nature of the suit against your business. While an attorney may handle the bulk of the legwork in terms of defending your interests in court or seeking an acceptable settlement, it is always imperative that you comprehend exactly what is at stake – failing to understand the details of the suit against you can result in poor choices down the line.

Contact A Seminole, FL Business Law Attorney

Being sued is never high on a list of a business owner’s preferred experience, but it does happen, and if it happens to you, you deserve the best possible chance to defend your company and protect your rights. A Florida business law attorney from the Hunt Law Group can help to answer your questions about the legal process, and manage any concerns you might have about moving forward. Call our office today to schedule a consultation.



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