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How to Sue a Company

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What Types of Lawsuits Can Be Initiated Against a Company?

Even as an individual, you can sue a company. The most common types of lawsuits against companies include:

  • Products liability
  • Personal injury
  • Breach of contract
  • Violation of federal law such as misuse of Medicare/Medicaid funds
  • False advertising
  • Discrimination
  • Sexual harassment
  • Tax fraud

What Types of Companies Can Be Liable?

Virtually any organization can be liable under state and federal law. This includes:

  • For-profit companies
  • Solo practitioners
  • Non-profit organizations
  • Local and state governments
  • Federal agencies
  • Schools

For example, a store is generally responsible for maintaining its building in a safe condition for shoppers. If a store is aware of a giant puddle on its premises that is very slippery and blends in with the ground, then the store is responsible for preventing the puddle causing harm to its shoppers. However, assume that the store fails to clean up the puddle in a reasonable amount of time. A shopper does not see the puddle, and they slip and fall in the puddle as a result. The store can be sued for personal injury damages, including medical expenses, lost wages, and pain and suffering.

How to Sue a Business

  1. Though not required by the law, it is usually best to try to resolve the issue prior to initiating litigation. Report your problem to the company, follow up with any requests for more information, and explain your position. The company may agree to satisfactorily resolve the problem for you. For instance, if a property management company has not returned your security deposit after your move-out, the company may be able to resolve the issue without a lawsuit. The company may explain the check was lost in the mail and reissue a new check.
  2. If you are unable to resolve the issue on your own, gather any and all information you can to support your claim. For instance, if you would like to sue a company for sexual harassment in the work place, gather any evidence you have such as e-mails, letters, reports, and text messages that may support your claim or incriminate the company.
  3. Determine what claims you have and what type of damages you are interested in. A claim can be under state or federal law. Damages can take many forms, such as monetary compensation or a replacement product.

Do I Need a Lawyer to Sue a Company?

Lawyers are crucial if you decide to sue a business. The state and federal legal systems are very complex, and there are multiple considerations to account for, including which court to file in, which claims to choose, anticipating defenses, whether to settle or go to trial, investigating claims and counterclaims, choosing witnesses, and conducting discovery. In addition, a company will likely have unlimited resources to fight your claim, as well as an in-house legal team to fight you every step of the way. A business lawyer can help you evaluate your potential claims, investigate your case, and advocate for your rights.

Photo of page author Jessica Long

, LegalMatch Legal Writer

Last Modified: 05-04-2015 09:21 AM PDT

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