Running a New Business in Montana – 3 Major Legal Steps You Need to Know
Starting a new business can be potentially profitable and rewarding but also potentially risky. However, there are some actions that business owners can undertake to reduce their potential exposure if they become a defendant in a lawsuit. Below are a few policies a business owner can use to minimize liability before a lawsuit:
Separating Your Personal and Business Assets
A new business owner should incorporate their business. Incorporation is necessary to limit the cash, assets, and property that may be vulnerable if the business or business owner is sued. The process may require extra payments and paperwork initially, but will save substantial time and money in the future.
Once you have incorporated your business though, you must maintain the distinction between business and private assets. If you commingle your personal and corporate assets, a court may order the corporate veil dissolved anyway.
Keeping Written Policies and Procedures
Negligence for personal injury is one of the most common claims in a lawsuit. A business is liable for negligence when it was suppose to take a certain action but failed to do so. A defense to negligence is to have detailed written procedures for employees to follow. Businesses should consider having new employees sign acknowledgment forms and having employee handbooks in place to ensure these policies are known and followed. Policies can cover topics ranging from procedures for slip and fall incidents to sexual harassment allegations. The important takeaway is to have documented procedures and to ensure that these procedures are complied with.
A new startup will need to keep its proprietary information safe from competitors, but its employees and vendors will still need access to the same information. Non-disclosure agreements are essential to ensure that your employees can speak freely within your company without losing valuable work to a rival business. Non-disclosure agreements need to be specific enough to enforce and should include the employee or vendor’s name, the information to be protected, a potential coverage area, and an expiration that the agreement will expire.
Should I Hire a Montana Business Lawyer?
Business law can be very complex. It is a good idea to hire a Montana business lawyer for help whether you are starting, merging, or dissolving your business. There are many different types of laws and regulations that apply when running a business. Hiring a local Montana business lawyer will help to ensure that you and your business are compliant with all state laws, that any documents related to your matter are enforceable, and that you have followed the proper state procedures for all relevant matters.