Running a business requires taking on a large amount of risk. Being able to produce a profit from your efforts is in no way guaranteed. Unfortunately, sometimes the unexpected can put your company into turmoil. This is true of certain legal issues that could result in lawsuits, fines, or even your business license being revoked by regulators. While all businesses are at risk of falling into legal quagmires, a few are especially at risk of doing so.
One of the most common industries in civilization also has some of the highest legal risks. This is retail. While there doesn’t seem to be anything particularly risky about selling different wares to customers inside a physical location, the fact that stores attract large swaths of the public does, in fact, increase their legal risks. A single Walmart, for example, can receive as many as 10,000 visitors in a single day. Things like slip and fall accidents can pose a great threat to retailers. Managing these locations requires taking steps to eliminate such hazards. Managing the labor needed to operate such stores can also pose legal risks. Things like discrimination and unfair treatment of employees must be avoided.
The efforts that are taken to create those products that are sold in retail stores also create a good deal of legal risk for companies. If a product harms a consumer, you can expect a lawsuit. If enough consumers are hurt, you can expect a class-action lawsuit that could put the very existence of your company in jeopardy. Managing a factory workforce also requires handling different risks. The highest levels of safety must be maintained at your facilities or you could end up being shut down by government regulators. Other issues with labor such as unions, hiring, firing, promotion, and more can all present unique legal challenges. In many cases, it’s probably the right idea to hire an L&I attorney to consult your company on how to develop policies aimed at avoiding workplace-related lawsuits.
There are many high-risk industries. However, perhaps the highest risk in many ways is healthcare. Healthcare deals with people’s lives. The care and treatment they receive can either improve their lives or even lead to death. As such, people tend to put a lot of trust in doctors, nurses, hospitals and other healthcare professionals and organizations. When something goes wrong, you can certainly expect lawsuits. Healthcare professionals are expected to uphold certain standards of care. When these standards are not met, medical malpractice lawsuits can certainly happen. Many doctors may, in fact, be sued several times during their careers. As such, having medical malpractice insurance is a must for this industry.
Moving people from place to place across the country and the globe involves a lot of risk. In fact, even transporting them across a city via a bus system can be a risky endeavor for companies. A lot can go wrong in the air, in the sea or on the road. You must account for these risks if you want your company to remain solvent. Ignoring such risks is foolhardy from a financial standpoint. Not only could you be sued, but you are likely to be shut down by regulators. Even if you survive such challenges, your reputation for being an unsafe transportation company could continue plaguing your brand for decades into the future.
As in the case with retail, food service attracts a high level of legal risk simply because of how many people it attracts. When you have a lot of consumers patronizing a business, a lot can go wrong. Accidents in restaurants, outside the restaurants and in their parking lots can result in personal injury lawsuits. The food service industry is also heavily regulated by local governments. If you restaurant is not up to code in terms of cleanliness and food safety, you can expect to be shut down. Managing restaurant employs can also result in legal risk. Things like sexual harassment or discrimination in your restaurant can lead to a lawsuit that can put your company in a world of hurt. Profit margins in this industry are thin as it is even without the risk of lawsuits.
While these are certain industries that require legal protection, this is in no way an exhaustive list. Many strategies for producing business revenue involve their own unique risks. Overall, almost every industry can be targeted by problems like lawsuits and government regulation. Make sure to assess these risks before you even open for business. Consulting a lawyer or obtaining insurance is probably a good idea.
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