Churches can be sued just like any other organization. Being sued is one of the greatest nightmares that your church can face. The potential liability can put your church at risk. There are mistakes that you should avoid because they can make a bad situation worse. You should hire an attorney immediately after you find out about the lawsuit because they can counsel you on how to respond.
Gather the Evidence
Your church may be in possession of evidence that could be crucial in your case. First, you would need evidence to help prove your own side of the case. Second, you must preserve evidence the plaintiff may request in the discovery process. If you lose or destroy valuable evidence, it could have serious consequences for you in litigation.
Make sure that your employees know of their duty to preserve evidence. Establish safeguards to ensure that nobody can do anything to tamper with the evidence. You should also ensure that you identify and organize the various sources of evidence to give to your attorney. Organization can make your lawyer’s job easier.
Do Not Comment Publicly
You may feel that your church is being unfairly attacked in a way that can jeopardize your reputation. You may want to speak out about the case to tell your story. Speaking publicly can be risky when you are a defendant in a lawsuit. You should not comment publicly without advice and help from your lawyer. They can explain what you should and should not say. If you make a mistake, it can be used against you in a trial.
Take Short-Term Action
There may be a specific issue that is alleged in the lawsuit. You need to be careful what you do after the lawsuit. Ideally, you want to minimize any further damages from the lawsuit. However, you must also be cautious that whatever you do is not an implicit admission of fault in the lawsuit.
Notify Your Insurance Company
There is a chance that your insurance policy could cover lawsuit damages. Under the terms of your contract, you must inform the insurance company of any lawsuit. The insurance company would tell you whether the lawsuit is covered.
Contact an Attorney
You should know your legal options when you are sued. You should contact an attorney as soon as possible once you learn of the lawsuit. An attorney can investigate the facts and inform you of your legal options.
A lawyer could take immediate action to help you get the lawsuit dismissed if you have grounds to do so. They could negotiate a settlement with the plaintiff.
Your church’s reputation is critical, so your lawsuit defense should include multiple professionals, potentially a public relations professional. Legally, your attorney would be your church’s voice when you are both in court and facing the public.
Contact Our Virginia Beach Church Lawyers at Anchor Legal Group, PLLC if Your Church Is Facing a Lawsuit
If your church has been sued, immediately get legal help from our Virginia Beach church lawyers at Anchor Legal Group, PLLC. Call us at 757-LAW-0000 or complete our online form to schedule an initial consultation. Located in Virginia Beach, we serve clients in Chesapeake, Norfolk, Suffolk, Portsmouth, Newport News, Hampton, Williamsburg, and Eastern Shore, Virginia.