Businesses today constantly face the risk of being sued. Legal threats may be present in-house, through employees. They may also stem from customers and even other businesses. Lawsuits can result in significant financial loss, damage to the business's reputation, and other consequences. While you cannot fully insulate your dealership against lawsuits, you can take several important steps to mitigate your risk of liability. What are the steps that should receive your full attention?
Create a Safe Environment
Dozens or even hundreds of people may traverse through your dealership on any given day. These people range from customers and employees to postal workers, delivery workers, and more. You are legally required to keep your business environment reasonably safe for visitors and for employees, and you may be liable for medical costs, lost wages, and other expenses that an injured party incurs if you fail to do so. Keep in mind that personal injury law and worker’s compensation cases pertain to both negligence and intentional actions. Consistently look for hazards that could result in an injury, and take steps to eliminate those hazards from the environment.
Consult with an Attorney
If you have not already hired a skilled employment lawyer to represent your dealership, now is the time to do so. Keep your attorney on retainer, and refer to him or her frequently as legal questions and concerns arise. It is best to be proactive and to mitigate risks rather than to deal with a lawsuit, and your attorney can help you to find ways to reduce your dealership’s exposure to various risks in different situations.
Provide Proper Training to Employees
Your employees are representatives of the dealership. Because of this, their actions and inactions while on the job may present a risk to the business. Employees should receive proper training on everything from sales and dealing with customers to workplace safety, sexual harassment, and more. Ensure that employees are aware of your business’s policies and restrictions, such as through a written agreement or a signed acknowledgment.
Be Clear and Upfront
When dealing with customers, always strive to be clear and upfront. You and your staff should avoid making false or misleading statements. When you are unsure about a specific feature, a term in the warranty, or some other fact-based detail, take time to research the matter before answering a question. In addition, ensure that marketing material, contracts, and other written documents are properly footnoted and have appropriate disclosures. Your attorney can and should review all written documentation to ensure that it has strong disclosure statements that are legally protective and enforceable.
Seek Legal Guidance as Soon as Possible
These efforts can dramatically reduce the number of legal issues that your dealership faces, but you may still find yourself dealing with a developing issue from time to time. The best time to seek legal guidance from your dealership’s attorney is as soon as possible. Your attorney can do everything from advising you on how to respond to a sticky situation to help you negotiate a matter out of court. Often, developing issues that are thwarted or addressed as soon as possible may be more likely to stay out of a courtroom. Because each situation is unique, consulting with a lawyer from time to time could be in your dealership’s best interest.
At Chung & Ignacio Attorneys at Law, we understand how important it is for you to operate your dealership without the constant weight of potentially being sued. This weight can negatively impact your ability to run your business as you see fit. If you are concerned about being sued or if you are already dealing with an escalating situation, now is the time to contact us. Through a legal consultation, you can learn more about the strength of your case and what specific actions you could or should take at this time. Contact us today to learn more.