If you own your own business, even a home based business, you almost certainly should carry some legal insurance in addition to what your current business, auto and homeowner or renter policies encompass. Your coverage on these policies probably will not cover legal services required for such difficulties as false arrest, libel, slander, or invasion of privacy.
The growing complexities of the legal system trigger the spiraling costs of lawsuits. This can be exceedingly costly to a small business owner, especially if you have a work at home business. You basically can’t afford to hope that you will never be caught up in a costly legal action.
Paying an attorney to defend various claims against you or your business may ruin a small business. With cash so tight these days, what small business owner can come up with the funds to pay at least $ 200 an hour for a lawyer who specializes in business law? Unless you are running a million dollar business, this sort of help is far too expensive for nearly everyone.
A couple of options are open to you.
First, check with your insurance agent to determine what additional policies or riders you can get that will cover legal expenses for standard legal actions arising out of the normal course of business. You might be able to get an umbrella plan that will expand both the dollar limits of your current coverage as well as boost the number of matters covered. An umbrella plan can be a low cost solution to your legal exposure.
A second choice is a prepaid legal plan that protects you and your family as well as your business. Normally, for a fixed monthly or annual fee your can qualify for a suite of legal services that are customized to the needs of a small business.
One widely used and beneficial feature of a prepaid legal plan is your option to have phone conversations with your attorney. You can talk about potential issues with your attorney and obtain his or her legal guidance before you do something that could produce a lawsuit. This is a positive aspect of most plans and can help you prevent lawsuits, saving you a lot of time, effort, and worry.
Many prepaid legal plans also cover your attorney’s time for reviewing typical documents and contracts. Without a legal plan you might not consider having contracts reviewed. But, your attorney can suggest ways to enhance the contract language and notify you of possible issues. This as well can save you from lots of headaches.
Prepaid legal plans will also cover your attorney’s time for preparing for and conducting a trial, should a legal situation involve a trial. Often your plan details the precise types of legal situations that are covered for trail related assistance.
As for any legal arrangement, you ought to read over any prepaid legal plan carefully to understand precisely what services are covered as well as their limits. You don’t want to believe you have extensive coverage when your coverage is very limited.
Many plans also provide discounts for services not expressly provided for by the plan.
You also should be concerned about the options you will have for your attorney or law firm. After all, legal specialization and skill play a critical role in your legal standing,. Look at the options and ask each potential firm for references from prior clients. If you know other small business owners who have used a particular plan, have a discussion about their experiences with them to find out their impression of the law firm they are working with.
You ought to also check with your state’s Bar Association and the Better Business Bureau to find the background of the attorneys and see if there are some complaints, including fee disputes, against the firms. Find out about such items as your potential attorney’s educational background, experience, and length of time practicing in his or her specialty.
Also, find out about how disputes with your legal plan provider are handled. See if they deal with disputes internally or submit them to an impartial third party for resolution. This may well have a big effect on your dealings with your plan provider.
By and large, as a small business proprietor, you should think about the risk of legal proceedings against you and make preparations to handle those matters. You will rest easier and perhaps avoid some pretty big expenses in the process.
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