Business Litigation and Deaths on the Job: The Right Way to Deal with It

Posted on: 7 December 2016


As a business owner, you want to be sure that everything you do is on the up-and-up. You never know when you might end up in court over something and then have your whole business scrutinized by the law. That said, if you are currently involved in business litigation, specifically litigation involving a death related to your business, here is how you should deal with it.

Hire a Lawyer

Even if you wish to claim some responsibility for the death of an employee or customer, you will still need a lawyer so that you do not get burned. The person or persons suing you will most definitely hire their own lawyer, so you should have someone to legally back you in court too. Your lawyer will not only defend your case and position but will also provide some measure of protection against extreme punishment. Your lawyer can also bargain a plea deal for you, one that should be reasonable to all parties involved.

Be Remorseful

If it was your product, your fleet vehicle, or your equipment that caused the accidental death of someone, be remorseful. Appearing distant and unsympathetic makes you look arrogant and self-righteous, something you should not appear to be under the seriousness of the circumstances. Genuine apologies prepared in advance to the first hearing is also ideal, in the event that the judge asks you to speak and/or your lawyer asks you to testify.

Be Ready to Offer a Generous Compensation to the Deceased's Family

Your lawyer can help you determine what a "generous" amount of compensation is. The party suing you may have other ideas, but if you offer more than what they were expecting and slightly less than what they want, that reflects positively on you. It says that you recognize the family's misfortune, you are sorry for their loss, but it was an accident, and you are still willing to accept responsibility and help out in this way. The case may continue anyway, but if you and your lawyer enter a generous amount from the start, the judge may side with you at the end of the case because you were already willing to go this far.

Accept Defeat and Punishment with Grace

In the event that you do not win your case or your offers of sincere sympathy and monetary compensation are not accepted, accept your defeat and punishment with grace. It speaks to the level of your character when you do not create a scene, and it reflects on your business and professionalism positively. You can still appeal the decision (and you should if you receive jail time), but a dignified non-reaction is the right way to end this.