When you are running a business, saving costs to boost profits is generally an excellent strategy. But there are some areas where saving an initial outlay can result in high costs later on. Legal matters are among these - and being proactive before there’s any chance of litigation or a legal dispute could ultimately save you a substantial amount in legal costs. Legal professionals often find themselves dealing with cases that have been unnecessarily complicated by early attempts at DIY in areas best covered by legal professionals. Here are three examples covering a variety of legal specializations.
A wide range of things found in workplaces can cause injuries when they are poorly made or badly maintained. If your business has a well-equipped workshop, the tools that make the job easier can also cause damage to property, or worse yet, people. The same is true when your business’s representatives spend time on the road. As the business-owner, you’re responsible for anything that goes wrong - or are you?
If you have reason to suspect that one of your suppliers hasn’t fulfilled the proper standards when supplying equipment or vehicles, or when performing maintenance on them, your business could be eligible for damages.
In this instance, you should consult with local attorneys that specialize in cases involving product liability. For example, there are attorneys in Charleston SC who understand the state’s laws and how it’s courts decide matters. If the incident occurred in some other state where your business has a presence, you would look for legal specialists there. As for the cost, many attorneys will only take cases they’re sure they can win - and you don’t pay at all if there’s no settlement.
Even if you think it’s an open-and-shut case in which you clearly can’t be responsible for damage or injury while your supplier clearly should, trying to represent yourself is more likely to cost you what should have been an easy win than save you money.
Compared to many other countries in the world, US employment laws are relatively easygoing, but falling afoul of employment law can be costly. The law governs the entire employment lifecycle of your staff, from hiring to their eventual departure. It’s best to get legal advice throughout, too - from preparing employment contracts to helping you with dismissals and layoffs, ensuring you’re on the right side of the law could save you a lot of money.
For example, while layoffs are often necessary during difficult times, they must be seen as fair from a legal perspective. What that means in your specific situation is advice best received from a lawyer who specializes in employment law. Just thinking you know how it all works could save you settlements running into millions of dollars.
On a smaller scale, knowing what can and cannot be specified in employment contracts and how to capture that in writing isn’t work for a layperson. If you later fall into a legal dispute with current or former employees and your contracts aren’t in order, they can’t protect you.
As with employment, the law governs your business’s life cycle from the time it is formed until the time it is dissolved. It also governs your personal liability for any debts or expenses your business might incur. If you’re considering a sole proprietorship, for example, your personal goods are among the assets that may be at risk if your business lands in financial trouble. Other forms of business spread or limit liability, but they do require forethought and the help of a business attorney.
During the lifespan of your business, other complications may arise. For example, if a co-owner or business partner decides to exit, legal disputes can arise. Needless to say, this will be much clearer and easier to solve if the initial agreements on which the business rests are correctly formulated, but if they aren’t, your business could face high costs you could be hard-put to cover. Having business attorneys to guide you throughout is, by comparison a cost-effective solution.
There are many other areas in which the legal profession can help to save your business money. From protecting intellectual property rights to breaches of contracts on the part of suppliers or clients and insurance claims that were unfairly refused, having lawyers on your side makes a difference. Then there are times when individuals or companies attempt litigation against your business, or just the times when you feel the need to know where you stand from a legal perspective before you make a business decision.
Have you ever noticed that top-flight lawyers are in demand as employees of big businesses? If you can’t afford to follow suit, having a good legal firm to back you up is as good or better!