If you own a business in the Tampa-St. Petersburg or Orlando area, you are at risk of getting involved in a lawsuit. Whether you are sued by a customer, must sue a vendor, or a serious dispute erupts between yourself and your partner, litigation is an everyday fact of life in Florida’s business community.
Though going to trial is always a possibility, most lawsuits settle out of court. Avoiding trial is not always the best option, and your attorney should be prepared to go to court. But there are many potential benefits to your business to negotiating a settlement, including:
The fact is, lawsuits are expensive. Your legal budget is probably not unlimited. The sooner you can fairly resolve your dispute, the more money you can save your business.
A shorter distraction
Along with money, litigation costs you time. As a small business owner, you likely will have to spend a lot of time working with your attorney on collecting evidence and determining strategy. That is time you could be conducting business. Finding a settlement both you and the other party can live with gets you back to focusing on your company 100 percent.
Lawsuits are on the public record. Unless you can convince the judge otherwise, anything submitted to the court, such as motions and evidence, can be looked up by anyone. Settling out of court can help you maintain your business’ privacy. So can alternative dispute resolution methods like mediation and arbitration. This can keep sensitive trade secrets, potentially embarrassing details and other information out of the public eye.
You cannot control everything that goes into an out-of-court settlement. But you certainly have more say than when a judge or jury determines liability. Many business owners who go through mediation or directly negotiate with the other party feel a greater sense of control over the results.
Unless the other party is unwilling to negotiate in good faith, or there seems to be no way to settle the matter outside of court, a settlement should at least be an option in virtually any business litigation matter.