Operating a business in Florida involves both financial and legal risks. From a legal perspective, as a business owner, virtually every decision you make has the potential for legal ramifications. In order to protect your company (and yourself), you need to manage the risks appropriately, and this starts with simply being able to identify the types of scenarios in which mistakes and oversights could lead to liability.
7 Legal Risks for Start-Up Businesses in Florida
The risks faced by any particular business will be heavily dependent on its structure and the industry or field in which it operates. However, in general terms, some of the most-common types of legal risks companies in Florida can face include:
1. Liability for Negligence
The law of negligence covers most types of accidents, including vehicle collisions, slips and falls on business premises, and accidents resulting from faulty work or services. Business owners must take appropriate steps to mitigate the risk of these types of accidents, and various types of insurance can provide coverage in the event of a lawsuit.
2. Strict Liability for Product Defects
Personal injuries and property damage resulting from product defects are governed by the law of strict liability. In Florida, all parties in the “chain of distribution” (including retailers) are responsible for product defects regardless of fault. Down-chain businesses can seek indemnification from suppliers and manufacturers, and all companies can buy insurance to mitigate their potential liability.
3. Contractual Liability
If your company breaches an agreement with a client, customer, or vendor, the terms of the agreement could support a substantial claim for damages. However, by carefully crafting contract terms that address the risks at hand, companies can significantly reduce their potential contractual liability.
4. Employment-Related Liability
State and federal employment laws provide various protections for employees. Employers in Florida must report and remit payroll and other taxes as well.
5. Regulatory Liability
From failure to obtain a required business license to environmental contamination, numerous types of issues can lead to regulatory liability. Particularly for companies in highly-regulated industries, giving due consideration to compliance can be crucial for avoiding business-threatening penalties.
6. Infringement, Tortious Interference and Other Business Liability Issues
Choosing trademarks, making use of media found online, “borrowing” ideas from other businesses, and courting other companies’ employees are just a small sampling of the types of business-specific issues that create substantial exposure for companies of all sizes.
7. Third-Party Infringement or Theft
Finally, third-party infringement (i.e. another company using your trademark), theft of proprietary information, breaches of confidentiality by current and former employees, and other similar types of issues can present threats as well. While the law (and your business’s contracts) should protect you, these types of issues can cause substantial harm if not addressed immediately.
Speak With a Fort Lauderdale Business Lawyer at Saavedra | Goodwin
If you are thinking about starting a business and want to make sure it is protected, or if your company is facing a dispute in Fort Lauderdale, the business lawyers at Saavedra | Goodwin can help. For a confidential initial consultation, call us at 954-767-6333 or inquire online today.