Prevailing wisdom is that business success requires a superior product, excellent customer service, and fair pricing. Beyond that there are marketing, promotion, and sales as well as economic conditions and a bit of luck. How does your business build a foundation for success?
When I am asked what are the three most important things a business should have, I answer:
- An experienced business attorney
- A qualified business accountant
Prevention of serious legal problems is the key. Investing in a business attorney is part of the cost of doing business. It’s important to remember that by the time you are sued, the preventable damage has been done. At that point, you’ll incur substantial attorney fees, court costs, and damages.
Most business owners believe that with the right insurance policies in place, like property insurance, general liability, unemployment insurance, workers compensation, employment liability, officers/directors and errors and omissions, they are all set.
But buying the policy and having a claim paid are two very different things. There are many pitfalls in between.
Example One: Laid Off
An employee is laid off and files for unemployment benefits. The employer contests and employee is denied benefits. Employee sues for wrongful termination costing the employer thousands of dollars.
Solution: to avoid this pitfall I recommend employers do not contest unemployment benefits. The employer has already paid into the system and will not get the money back. There is nothing that will send a former employee to an attorney faster than an employer who fights unemployment benefits.
Example 2: The Broken Pipe
Employer has a pipe burst which causes damage to her business and inventory. Employer contacts her property insurance company and files a claim telling them main pipe line broke. The insurance company determines main line is responsibility of building owner and denies claim.
Solution: When filing a property damage claim it is not your job to identify cause of damage, i.e. Water damage versus main pipe burst, less said to insurance the better. Additionally, it is recommended to file the claim with all potential insurance companies, including the property owner. And if it looks like your claim may be denied, seek advice of attorney familiar with insurance companies and policies. A letter from our law firm explaining why the insurance company is liable, may avert costly litigation.
Remember, Insurance companies exist to collect premiums and make a profit, when it comes to paying claims you, the business owner, may need to do a great deal of non-business-related work to get your claim settled.
And yes, your company does need a Business Attorney such as myself to become a winner.
Liat Cohen, Esq.
Do you have a similar legal problem?
Liat Cohen has been practicing law in the Los Angeles Area for over 25 years. If you have experienced a similar issue, feel free to contact her for a free initial consultation to discuss how she can help you solve your legal problems.