When running a business, there’s so much to think about that it’s almost pointless to write a to-do list. Writing a to-do list would do little but exemplify just how much you have to do, and how little time you have available to do it— and no one needs that kind of reminder of just how far behind they are!
However, despite your busy and overloaded entrepreneurial mind, it’s worth taking the time to discuss another— rather important — consideration: how much should a business worry about being sued?
The most common answer is… “a lot.”
Of course it is. After all, the USA is a litigious society isn’t it? We’ve all heard it; people sue for anything nowadays! Ambulance chasers, people suing because a cup of coffee was too hot… it’s all representative of highly litigious American society.
As a result of this societal shift, any business owner needs to be on their guard, constantly, for the potential to be sued. Everything has to be perfect, and every customer or employee should be suspected as a potential plaintiff in a suit against the company. It’s not a great way to live, of course, but it’s a necessary one: remember, the whole “litigious society” thing?
However, there is one small problem with the litigious society we all believe we live in: it doesn’t really exist.
America is not a particularly litigious society
Yes, the USA is a fairly litigious society— when adjusted for per capita ratios, we’re in the top five. However, we’re fifth, behind Germany, Sweden, Israel, and Austria; and the way that these numbers are measured is not particularly useful either. For example, some metrics include the number of lawyers per individual— which isn’t particularly useful in deciding how litigious a society actually is!
It’s also worth noting that some of the most infamous cases that lead to the propagation of the litigious society myth were actually legitimate cases. For examples, the McDonalds cup of coffee lady who sued because her coffee was too hot— did you know she actually suffered incredibly severe burns, and that McDonald’s had been warned repeatedly that their coffee was potentially dangerously hot? That’s not a sign of a litigious society— it’s a corporation being fairly held to account by the court system.
So how much should you worry about being sued?
Essentially, you shouldn’t. There’s no need to be constantly on your guard for the risk of being sued— or at least, there isn’t provided you are careful and conscientious regarding the operation of your business. If you take sensible precautions and adhere to health and safety guidance, then there’s no reason to fear being sued. There’s no ambulance chasers or attorneys seeking to jump on minor incidents; this injury attorney and others like him are just trying to protect the public, not ruin corporations for the sake of it.
So, be smart, be cautious, and treat health and safety for employees and customers as important areas. However, with that done, you can relax: the US isn’t a particularly litigious society, and no one is seeking a reason to sue your business. Provided you take sensible precautions, you and your business should be just fine.