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What should I do if someone takes legal action against my business?

  • Blog
  • 12 December 2017

Whether you’re a new business, or you’ve been in operation for years, there’s always a chance that you’ll have a customer pursue legal action against you for one reason or another.

In the event that it does happen, you’ll want to be thoroughly prepared and ready to deal with the situation swiftly. To help make sure you can deal with the issue as effectively as possible we explain what to do if someone pursues legal action against your business.

What should I do if someone takes legal action against my business?

Review the facts

This important first step will help define what you should do going forward. For example, if a customer is claiming that they have injured themselves on your premises, you should review any CCTV footage from the day in question to verify whether the claim appears to be  true or not.

If there’s no evidence of the event happening on your premises, you will need to present this fact in the event that the legal action results in a court appearance . If it did happen, there may be circumstances that suggest your business was not at fault in any way.

If you are found liable, however, you could also prepare a handful of business procedure changes to further reduce the risk of injury on your premises, and so reduce the chance of any more legal action in the future.

Reviewing the circumstances of any claim against you is useful to ensure that you’re prepared, regardless of the kind of business you are. For example if a claim is about a potential case of food poisoning, you could  prepare documents and evidence that thoroughly details your food safety procedures and high hygiene standards, helping to demonstrate that the fault is  unlikely to be at  your end.

Prepare a statement

Unfortunately, a customer taking legal action against you might also coincide with them contacting local media, potentially causing bad publicity for your business.

Without quick action, this can get out of hand and become a larger issue than it needs to be, especially if you stay silent. This is why having a PR team can be so helpful; it shows that you want to cultivate a positive image while being prepared for a negative situation.

 So, as soon as you know the facts, have your PR team draft a professional, accurate statement both for your business’s social media, and ready for any media contact. If you can present your side of the issue as  logical, correct, and a reasonable version of events, it will help negate any potential outrage, helping your business continue as normal while you focus on the legal action.

To read more about this issue, take a look at our guide on how to handle bad publicity and find out more about FSB’s PR/Crisis Management helpline here

Seek legal advice

When it comes to knowing what to do when legal action is taken against you, the best course of action is to  get advice from a solicitor.

You might not have to instantly hire a solicitor and go on the offensive, but seeking some general legal advice to get an idea of what your best course of action is would be helpful.

Collecting a handful of relevant documents and evidence is great, but legal experts can help you formulate a defence in the event of a court case, and represent your business effectively. It might also be that a solicitor  will be able to quietly deal with the issue through a mediation process between yourself and the accusing party, settling the issue without a lengthy court case.

How can FSB help you with legal advice?

Going through a legal battle can be a time-consuming and uncertain process, especially if it’s your first time handling such an issue. However, FSB are on hand to make the process less daunting, and guide you through the process.

Our FSB Legal Protection Scheme, included as part of our FSB Business Essentials package, include such benefits as:

  • 24 hour Legal Advice Helpline
  • Legal costs insurance for a wide range of legal issues, such as jury duty, employment tribunals, and personal injury pursuit cover.
  • FSB Legal Hub providing a comprehensive range of support materials

To find out more, take a look at our FSB Legal Protection Scheme page. If you’d like to see how else the FSB could help your business take a look at our package comparison page.

Legal Protection Scheme from FSB

Legal protection covers various scenarios and ensures you and your business are covered

Find out more