What Should You Do if Your Business is Sued?
Call us at 800-929-1725 for an appointment at our offices in Wharton, El Campo or Richmond, Texas. In this video, Attorney and Partner Ray Kerlick talks about some of the things you should know and some things that you should do if your business is sued. Hopefully you’ve protected yourself with a business liability insurance policy. Ray describes some steps you should take to notify your insurance agent and the insurance company and what you should expect from the insurance company after it’s been notified of a potential claim or that your business is sued.
If your business is sued, you face a lot of new uncertainty. You need an experienced and capable attorney to help guide you through the legal process. You need an attorney who will represent your business effectively and efficiently. You need an attorney who can provide you with a plan to move forward. The business attorneys of Wadler, Perches, Hundl & Kerlick are the attorneys you need if your business is sued.
This is a summary of Ray Kerlick’s video.
Hi, this Ray Kerlick. I’m a partner with the law firm of Wadler, Perches, Hundl and Kerlick in Wharton, Texas. I’d like to talk with small business owners today about kind of a worst case-scenario that unfortunately, we often see and that is you’ve been threatened with a lawsuit or a claim for damages of some sort. Hopefully you’ve seen our earlier video in which we discuss liability insurance and you’ve properly evaluated your risk with regard to liability insurance.
Notify Your Insurance Agent and Insurance Company of a Potential Claim
If so, you’ve got an easy first step. Make sure and notify your agent and your insurance company of potential claims. That means forwarding a copy of any letter or claim that you receive in the mail and make sure that as many insurance companies as possible have notice of actually what’s being claimed. Each of these companies will evaluate whether or not there’s potential coverage under their policy and they’ll respond to you.
Now typically we as attorneys would become involved with this right away. Partially because we represent your interests. We’re not being paid by the insurance company off the bat. We’ll be reporting directly to you. We can assist you through this process of submitting the claim to your insurance company and making sure that we do our best to make sure that it’s covered in some way so that you don’t find yourself by yourself against one of these types of claims.
What’s a Reservation of Rights Letter?
Now once the insurance company acknowledges receipt of the claim typically they’ll send out what’s called a reservation of rights letter. What a reservations of rights letter is, is essentially a blueprint of the type of coverage that you have and how this claim fits into the coverage that you’ve received. It will typically provide lots of reasons why this claim may not be covered if it goes all the way to the end. Now normally at the end of a reservation of rights letter what the insurance company has agreed to do is to appoint a lawyer to represent you in the lawsuit. However, they’ve done so without saying that they agree that there’s coverage for the judgment at the end. They’re entitled to do this and this is, certainly is Texas law. However, you also have certain rights under Texas law and that, those rights include the right to request counsel of your choosing if the insurance company intends to reserve their rights as to this particular lawsuit.
Certainly we’ve had good relationships with a number of our clients who have had claims and we’ve dealt directly with their insurance companies to actually defend against claims and actually submit our bills directly to the insurance company for payment. Many insurance companies are willing to do this. If they’re not, often times what they’ll do is simply agree to continue the defense of the case without reserving their rights. Which again we feel was a good outcome for our clients.
Don’t Delay Contacting an Attorney if Your Business is Sued
So if you find yourself in that situation contact the attorney of your choosing as quickly as possible so that you can evaluate what types of coverage are available to you, what types of notices need to go out and what the best response is to the correspondence that you receive from the insurance company. Don’t go it alone and certainly don’t find yourself in a lawsuit by yourself. Contact an attorney. We’d be happy to talk to you and we appreciate your time.
The attorneys at Wadler, Perches, Hundl & Kerlick have many years of experience handling small business claims issues and representing small business clients. Several of the attorneys have extensive experience at large, national law firms representing clients in complex litigation. All of our attorneys come from Southeast Texas and they bring their small-town values and their dedication to client service to every client and case. Call us for an appointment at 800-929-1725 if you’re facing a potential claim or for any other small business matter.
Our attorneys represent clients from most areas of Texas. We have convenient offices in Wharton and El Campo in Wharton County and in Richmond and Fulshear in Fort Bend County. You can make an appointment at any of our offices by calling 800-929-1725 today.