Thursday, July 15, 2010

In litigation lockdown, silence in golden

When I was 17 years old I was in a car accident, the details of which are unimportant to this story. What is important, though, is that a week later, I saw the woman I hit in the library, but she didn't see me. She was telling the librarian all about the accident, including how she wasn't that badly injured, but that her attorney told her to keep treating so that they could ask for more money in her lawsuit.

When your company is sued, you need to instruct your employees to exercise extreme caution in who says what around whom. I refer to it as "litigation lockdown." You may not know which of your employees are friends with the plaintiff. And, as my story illustrates, you cannot always control who overhears what is said. Especially in the workplace, little is private. Walls are often paper-thin. You never know who might be listening to what is intended to be private conversation.

Suffice it to say the woman I hit got much less money than she otherwise might have because I was in the right place at the right time. Don't end up over-paying in case because of similar carelessness.

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