ASCE Member Insurance Blog

Claims Retrospective: Identify and Document the Work You're Hired to Do—and Not Do

Posted on 8/25/2017 by ASCE Insurance in Documentation civil engineer professional liability liability claim

It is not unusual to discover problems outside a project's scope of work that may adversely affect the outcome, especially when the project involves an aging building or the property around it. Nor is it uncommon to find clients who do not wish to pay for remedying these "other" problems. It is always advisable to document all recommended work for a project, including other deficiencies, as well as any direct instructions from the client. To illustrate this point, the following real-world example provides a context for further explanation and discussion.

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Engineers’ Duties Outside of a Written Contract: Avoiding Pitfalls Through Proper Documentation

Posted on 3/9/2017 by ASCE Insurance in Liability Contracts Legal Documentation

As with any profession, a contract for engineering services specifies the terms of agreements, services to be exchanged, deadlines, and estimated costs. It also outlines the specific duties of the project's engineering firm.1 However, as a project progresses, its scope—and thus the engineering firm's duties—can expand. As an engineer, it's important to be aware that taking on duties outside those outlined in your contract may increase your liability.2 To understand how, consider the real-life scenario described below.

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How Document Retention Could Save You

Posted on 12/17/2015 by ASCE Insurance in Legal Documentation Spoilation Sanctions

A professional’s inability to produce important evidence during a lawsuit alleging negligence may result in sanctions.1 State law determines whether spoliation of evidence may result in sanctions, and the nature of any sanctions imposed against a party who fails to preserve important evidence can vary greatly by state.

By Terri Stough, Esq.

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A Closer Look at Your Reporting Requirements

Posted on 10/15/2015 by ASCE Insurance in Legal Reporting Documentation

All professional architects and engineers risk having claims brought against them in relation to their work. Some claims may have merit. However, some professionals can get caught in a wide net cast by a claimant trying to recoup unexpected losses, regardless of actual fault. Notwithstanding the frivolity of a claim, once a case settles or a judgment is rendered, you may be obligated by your state to report the settlement or judgment to your professional board.

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He Said/She Said is Not a Good Plan

Posted on 12/15/2014 by ASCE Insurance in Legal Reporting Documentation

The specter of litigation will never instill peace of mind, but engineers are wise to implement document retention practices to prepare for the moment we all hope will never come. If you find yourself facing a lawsuit, the documents that you provide to your attorney will serve as the foundation of your defense. Keep in mind that the strongest defense is one that doesn’t merely fit your version of a story against someone else’s or require huge leaps in reasoning and facts to overcome missing information. The best defense is built on the most complete story that you can tell in black and white.

By Terri L. Stough, Esq.

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