Being sued is an incredibly stressful experience, one that most people would go to great lengths to avoid. A strong legal defense can increase your chances of winning, but that won’t take away from the spectacle of a lawsuit.
Many innocent parties will pay a settlement fund just to have a lawsuit dismissed. This might be a smart choice, especially if you don’t have the time or resources to fight a lawsuit.
It’s a catch-22.
Unfortunately, the public often sees a settlement agreement as evidence of guilt. After all, why would you pay someone if you didn’t think you owed them?
To many people, this seems obvious. To the defendant, it just means being accused a second time. You can’t settle with the public, per se, but there are some ways you can lessen the aftermath of a lawsuit.
Stay under the radar
You don’t want to make a mountain out of a molehill. Small lawsuits happen all the time, and you’d be hard pressed to find a household name that hasn’t found its way into the court dockets at one time or another.
Some lawsuits are disputes between companies and don’t directly concern the public. Or, they may not be “juicy” enough to make headlines. Others may be so obviously frivolous that the public sides with you right from the start.
Just go with it
If the lawsuit was highly publicized, or if you just don’t have a good defense, it may be best to swallow your pride. The trust of the public, especially your most loyal clients, is more important than being right.
Now isn’t the time to make demands of the public. Now is the time to let the public know that you’ve listened, you’ve learned, and you’ve begun the long process of growing from this experience.
Make the best of it
Strength through adversity is one of the most admired character traits a person or company can have. If you learn and grow from this experience, you can set an example for others who will face similar trials.
Think of a company you admire and respect, and imagine how they might respond to such a crisis. Would their response disappoint you? Or would it somehow make you trust them more?
Right now, that company is you. This is your moment. You didn’t ask for it, but you got it, so use it!