Risk Management 101: Why Are Businesses and Individuals Sued? by Christopher P. Lawson
I. Generally Perceived Reasons Why Businesses and Individuals are Sued:
A. Greedy or Fraudulent Plaintiffs;
B. The Defendant was Negligent; and
C. The Defendant Breached Their Contractual Terms.
II. Real Reasons Businesses and Individuals are Sued:
(It has nothing to do with actual negligence or a breach of contract)
A. Poor Communication With Their Customers or Business Partners
1. Failing to Find Out Your Customers' Needs;
2. Failing to Adequately Reduce an Agreement to Writing (i.e. A Written Contract);
3. Failing to Communicate Reasonable Expectations of the Final Outcome (i.e. Managing
4. Failing to Communicate Who is Responsible For What Action or Duty (Between the Business
and the Customer or between Two Professionals or Businesses Working on a Project Together);
5. Failing to Return Phone Calls; and
6. Failing to Provide Wrap-up Communication.
B. Poor Relationship Skills
1. Failing to Communicate Appropriately as Stated Above;
2. Poor Attitude (i.e. Anything That Connotes That You Do Not Appreciate Your Customers' Business);
3. Condescending Attitude (i.e. "I am the expert and I am going to disregard your feedback."); and
4. Yelling, Hitting or Otherwise Unacceptable Behavior (Believe it or not – it happens!).
III. Solutions: How to Avoid Being Sued
A. Find Out Your Customers' Needs and Manage Expectations;
B. Document your Agreements;
C. Encourage Constant Communication; and
D. Be Nice! Remember How You Like to be Treated When You Are the Customer.
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