If you’re a business owner, there’s a good chance you’ll have to deal with a dispute with another company at some point. While it’s never ideal to be in this position, sometimes it’s necessary to take legal action. If that’s the route you decide to take, here are some tips on suing another company over a business dispute.
1. Gather all the relevant documentation.
Because you’ll be dealing with lawyers and the court system, having all of your documentation in order is important. This includes any contracts with the other company, emails, invoices, and other correspondence. If you don’t have hard copies of everything, be sure to print them out or make digital copies that you can easily access.
Depending on the nature of your dispute, there may be other types of documentation you need to gather. For example, if you’re suing over a breach of contract, you’ll need to show how the other company failed to meet its obligations. You might also need to provide financial records if the dispute is related to payment.
Additionally, it would be best if you started keeping a log of any expenses you incur as a result of the dispute. This could include legal fees, lost business, and damages. This documentation will be vital if you’re awarded any compensation.
2. Hire a lawyer.
You likely won’t be able to represent yourself in court, so you’ll need to hire a lawyer. Look for someone with experience handling business disputes, as they’ll be best equipped to help you. Ask for referrals from other business owners or look for lawyers who specialize in commercial litigation.
When meeting with potential lawyers, ask about their experience, success rate, and how they would handle your case. It would be best if you also asked about their fees and whether they offer a free consultation. You only want to work with a lawyer you’re comfortable with and who you feel confident will get the job done.
3. File a complaint.
Once you’ve hired a lawyer, they will help you draft a complaint, which is a document that outlines your claim against the other company. You will file the complaint with the court and serve a copy to the other company. Serving the other company can be done in several ways, but it’s usually best to have someone else do it for you, so there’s no chance of them avoiding it.
Choosing a process server that offers Secretary of State entity search capabilities guarantees that you’re serving the right company. This powerful tool allows you to find detailed information about businesses and individuals registered in your state. If you’re unsure how to find a process server, your lawyer should be able to help.
4. Prepare for court.
Once the complaint has been filed, the other company will have a chance to respond. If they don’t respond, you may be able to get a default judgment in your favor. If they do respond, the case will go to court, and you’ll need to be prepared to present your case.
Your lawyer will help you gather evidence and prepare for court. This may include depositions, sworn statements from witnesses, and document production, which is the process of exchanging information between the parties. You’ll also need to be prepared to testify about your case.
Some businesses also choose to try mediation or arbitration before going to court. This can be a good option if you want to avoid the cost and time of a trial. However, it’s important to note that you won’t be able to get a default judgment if the other company doesn’t agree to mediate or arbitrate.
5. Get a judgment.
If you win your case, the court will issue a judgment in your favor. This means that the other company will be ordered to pay you the money you’re owed. If they don’t pay, you may need further legal action to collect the money. This could include wage garnishment, asset seizure, or placing a lien on their property.
But if you lose, don’t despair. You can always appeal the decision if you think the court made a mistake. This is a complex process, so you’ll need your lawyer to help you. Ask about their experience with appeals and whether they think it’s worth pursuing.
Regarding business disputes, it’s always best to resolve the issue without going to court. However, sometimes legal action is the only way to get what you’re owed. If you find yourself in this situation, follow the steps above to ensure you have the best chance of success. With the help of a good lawyer, you can get the money you’re owed and move on with your business.