Legal issues to consider when running your own business

February 14, 2013

Starting a business can seem challenging.

After deciding what type of business to start, it is important to think about the legal aspects of running your own business. People interested in starting their own business should understand the legal issues they may face once their business is up and running.

There are several legal areas that business owners should become familiar with in order to run a successful business now and in the future.

The first legal area to understand is contract law. Almost all businesses will require a contract at some point. Contracts may be used with customers, suppliers, other companies that you work with and to form franchise agreements. The rights of your business will be outlined in the contract so it may be beneficial to consult an attorney to make sure your contract is accurate.

The second legal area to learn about is tort law. This refers to how and when your business can be held liable for accidents and injuries. Businesses can be sued when someone is injured on your property, when injuries are caused by your employees or if one of your products injures someone. It is important to understand the laws regarding your company's liability as well as what type of insurance you need to protect your business.

Business owners need to become very familiar with employment law. This includes following wage laws and requirements, having a safe work environment and what benefits need to be provided to employees.

Lastly, business owners should understand intellectual property laws and what they can do if another company steals their idea. Business owners should become familiar with copyright, patents and trademark laws to help protect their business as well as know when to seek legal action if an issue does arise.

These are just basic explanations of what legal issues business owners should become familiar with. Business owners should consult a business law attorney to discuss these legal issues in more detail as well as what other issues need to be considered to protect their business.

Source: Free Enterprise, "Starting a Business? 5 Legal Areas to Learn," Andrew Lu, Feb. 11, 2013