In recent news, there have been a large number of lawsuits filed regarding the weed killer Round Up, which is produced by Bayer.
The number of complaints/lawsuits have landed somewhere in the 900’s. For the upcoming litigation for these cases, Kenneth Feinberg has been appointed as the judge. The recent Round Up lawsuits are just one example of product lawsuits that emerge every year as a result of corporate mistakes and negligence.
If you are a small business owner, it’s a terrifying thought to be in that position. You might be thinking, “Could a lawsuit be waiting around the corner for me?” Although no one can predict the future, you can cover your bases.
Here are 6 precautions and steps you can take to protect your small business from these types of conflicts and reduce your chance of ending up in court.
1. Quality control and research
If your business specializes in sales of a specific product, as opposed to something more service-based, it is incredibly important that you implement quality control and research into your product development. Products should be thoroughly tested and evaluated before they ever go out on the market. Researchers should study any harmful effects that the product might have on an individual’s health, the environment, and other factors that could lead to a lawsuit.
2. Hire an experienced lawyer that you trust
Even if you aren’t currently facing an active lawsuit, it is a good idea to have a lawyer on staff or on retainer that you trust to handle issues that arise. Of course, they should be thoroughly competent and experienced. If you are a start-up, you might not be able to afford a lawyer to stay on your payroll full-time. If this is the case, make sure you research local attorneys in your area that you will be able to call when you need them.
3. Be aware of what you say publicly
Another thing that you can do to keep your company out of trouble is to watch what you say publicly. This can be applied to things like social media platforms as well. You don’t want to give people negative or harmful things that they could use against your company legally. You should also avoid slanderous public comments in general. This idea of watching what you say is especially important if you are the public face of a company.
4. Talk to customers and note their responses
For any business, a critical component of operation is maintaining customer service. To do this effectively, you or representatives of your company should talk to your customers about their experience and note their responses. You should look for ways that you can improve their future experience with your company.
5. Get insurance
If you own a small business, you should make sure that your company is covered by liability insurance. This can help against a variety of lawsuits. One of the most common ones is slip and fall incidents. Getting insurance is a smart investment for your company no matter what size. Omissions coverage is another common type of insurance that companies get.
6. Make sure your files are secure
File security is a huge component of making sure that your company is a good place legally. Your company most likely handles and stores a lot of personal data from your customers, such as credit card information, addresses, and more. The same can be said for employee information as well. Back up your files and make sure they are protected from hackers.