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Addressing a lawsuit against your small business

Running a small business may have been your life's goal. Now that you have a few years of operation under your belt, you may have felt that you were well on your way to success. Of course, even the road to success can have its bumps and blocks, and you may have recently found yourself in a difficult predicament.

Someone filed a legal claim against your company. You may have felt shocked at first, but you may also know that running any type of business comes with the risks of someone -- whether a client, customer, employee, partner or another business -- finding issue with your actions or the actions of the company. What can you do?

Do not panic

First, you do not have to panic. As mentioned, lawsuits typically come with the territory of running a business. Rather than thinking this legal issue will end your company, you may instead want to focus on finding your best options for handling it appropriately. Though one of your first instincts may be to reach out to the disgruntled party personally, you should avoid this action. After the plaintiff files suit, it is in your best interests to avoid direct communication.

Responding to the lawsuit

After receiving notice of the lawsuit, you will need to formally respond. Your response should include an admittance or denial of the allegations, whether you wish to move forward with a trial or would rather reach a settlement outside of court, and your defense and counterclaims. However, you may not want to respond immediately. You will have a deadline by which you will need to respond, but giving yourself time to create a thoughtful and direct response is wise.

Stay on top of your business

Though learning that someone has filed a lawsuit against your company can certainly be unnerving, you will likely need to keep up your business operations. Allowing the legal claims to bring business operations to a halt or to cause you to question your decisions could prove more detrimental to the company than the lawsuit itself.

Have legal support

Of course, one of the first steps you may want to take after receiving notice of a legal claim is to contact a California business attorney. Your legal support can help you understand the claim, draft your response and go over your options for defending against or otherwise addressing the claims against you and your business.

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