May 27

Understanding Liability: How to Protect Your Business From Lawsuits

Managing a business comes with its own set of challenges, and one of the most formidable is the potential for litigation. Legal disputes can drain your financial resources, consume precious time, and tarnish your company's reputation. However, strategic planning and support from a trusted advisor can significantly mitigate these risks, safeguarding both your personal and business assets. Read on to find out how.

Understanding Business Liability

Every business owner must understand liability — your legal responsibility for any losses or damages that arise from your business operations. Here are some common types of business liabilities that every owner should be aware of:

Product Liability: Covers injuries or damages caused by defective products your business manufactures, distributes, or sells. An example is the Boeing airplane door defects that are all over the news as this article is being published. 

Premises Liability: Includes injuries that occur on your business premises, i.e., someone trips and falls in your building and is injured.

Employee Liability: Occurs when the actions of your employees during work result in harm to others. For example, if your employee is driving the company car for work purposes and is in an accident where someone else is hurt. If the employee is found to be at fault, the injured party can sue your business.

Contract Liability: Occurs if your business fails to fulfill its part of a contractual agreement. This could be anything from failing to deliver a product on time, to not paying invoices, to failing to meet any other obligation you’ve agreed to.

Intellectual Property Liability: Involves legal issues that arise from the unauthorized use of someone else’s protected intellectual property (patents, trademarks, copyrights). See our previous article on how to protect yourself from accidentally infringing on someone else’s trademark.

In addition, you could be personally liable for business operations if certain formalities are not in place. In this instance, your personal assets will be at risk (yep, your personal cash, house, and investments count). You do NOT want this to happen!

Foundational Systems Ensure Protection

To shield you and your business from legal threats, you must start by making sure you have the necessary foundational systems in place. Hands down this is the best thing you can do. Those foundational systems are legal, insurance, financial and tax - or “LIFT.” Let’s dive in a little deeper, since understanding of these systems is crucial.  

Legal Systems: Not only should your business be incorporated properly with your State and have all required operating licenses, but your business entity needs to be maintained on a consistent basis. This means you must follow corporate compliance formalities required by the law. 

You also need partnership agreements, employee contracts, customer agreements, and an operating agreement or bylaws so you’re fully protected. 

Insurance Systems: No matter how robust your legal systems are, life happens, and that’s what insurance is for. Every business owner needs insurance coverage that suits the specific needs of the business, from general liability insurance to more specialized policies like professional liability or cyber insurance and, of course, life and long-term disability insurance. 

As the business owner, you may also want to consider key person insurance, or a policy your business takes out on you, or anyone who’s critical to the running of the business. 

Financial Systems: Apart from understanding your profit and loss statement, or how much cash you have each month, it’s important to have robust financial systems in place for making strategic decisions as you grow. These include revenue projections, financial planning & analysis, investment strategies, and a regular review of your financials with an advisor to ensure you’re meeting your goals and managing cash flow and growth plans effectively. 

Tax Systems: Taxes are your biggest expense. Therefore, it’s important to make sure your business is structured to optimize tax benefits and compliance, because who wants to pay more taxes than they need to, right? And of course, it’s important to know what your estimated tax payments will be, that you’re paying the right amount, and that your payments are timely. 

Phew! That’s a LOT. And if all this feels overwhelming, especially when you’re running your business as a full time job, you’re right. You should not try to put all these systems in place alone. You need the help of a trusted advisor who understands your business inside and out, and can ensure you’re doing everything you can to protect yourself. Enter the LIFTed Business Advisor.

How a LIFTed Business Advisor Protects You From Liability

A LIFTed Business Advisor (“LBA”) is a Personal Family Lawyer who provides more than legal advice; they forge a partnership with you so you have a team member who’s as invested in your company’s success as you are. LBA’s are holistic, heart-centered lawyers trained in the foundational LIFT systems, so they guide you to create robust legal, insurance, financial and tax systems that protect you from liability. LBA’s may also have access to a team of experts in the LIFT industries so you get a wide range of support, whenever you need it.   

Every LBA’s goal is to be your go-to advisor, meaning, they are available for any questions, any time, no matter how complex. If they can’t figure out the answer, they’ll bring in the right professional who can. Their ongoing support helps you make informed decisions quickly and efficiently, reducing the risk of costly mistakes. Even if your need isn’t business related (say, your teenager is in a car accident), your LBA will help you find the help you need. 

An LBA also helps keep you accountable. With regular check-ins to review your LIFT systems, your LBA will know if you or your business is vulnerable to potential liability and work with you to ensure all needed changes are made. Without an accountability partner, your business will (not may) be vulnerable to liability. Things change. The law changes, tax regulations change, your business grows, and unless you have a trusted advisor who has your back, you’re putting you and your business at risk.

This allows you to focus on growing your business while resting assured that you have a trusted partner looking out for your best interests. Investing in the services of an LBA (whose fees by the way, are affordable and predictable!) is an investment in the future and security of your business, providing peace of mind that you and your business are protected from liability.

Let Us Be the LIFTed Business Advisor You Need

Having a LIFTed Business Advisor on your side not only provides a shield against potential lawsuits but also adds a level of personalized, expert guidance that is invaluable in today’s business environment. This holistic approach ensures that all aspects of your business's foundational LIFT systems—legal, insurance, financial, and tax—are managed in real time. 

As your LIFTed Business Advisor, I’m here to serve as the trusted advisor you need so you can free yourself of worry from lawsuits and focus on growing your business. Together, we’ll ensure your LIFT systems are in place and updated and potential threats are taken care of.

Schedule a complimentary call with us today to get started.

This article is a service of a Personal Family Lawyer®. We offer a complete spectrum of legal services for businesses and can help you make the wisest choices with your business throughout life and in the event of your death. We also offer a LIFT Business Breakthrough Session™, which includes a review of all the legal, financial, and tax systems you need for your business. Call us today to schedule.

The content is sourced from Personal Family Lawyer® for use by Personal Family Lawyer® firms, a source believed to be providing accurate information. This material was created for educational and informational purposes only and is not intended as ERISA, tax, legal, or investment advice. If you are seeking legal advice specific to your needs, such advice services must be obtained on your own separate from this educational material.

We offer a complete spectrum of legal services for business owners and can help you make the wisest choices on how to deal with your business throughout life and in the event of your death. We also offer you a LIFT Your Life And Business Planning Session, which includes a review of all the legal, insurance, financial, and tax systems you need for your business. Schedule online today.

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