Certificates of Merit May Offer Some Defense and Insights

Posted on 8/20/2018 by ASCE Insurance in Claims

Leslie Pegue, Esq.

To prevent unmeritorious errors and omissions claims from proceeding against licensed professionals, including licensed professional engineers, a minority of state legislatures have passed statutes requiring the filing of an affidavit or certificate of merit by the plaintiff that supports their contention that they have a valid legal claim against the defendant engineer.

read more..

Claims Retrospective: Engineers Should Recognize High-Risk Projects and Take Added Measures to Protect Themselves

Posted on 8/20/2018 by ASCE Insurance in Claims

There has been an increase in claims involving high-risk projects in the past few years. Additionally, more engineers who do not typically take on high-risk projects are willing to do so. However, these engineers do not always account for the higher risk involved and tend to approach such high-risk projects in the same fashion as smaller projects, without taking additional measures to protect themselves.

read more..

Pre-Litigation Disclosure of Insurance Information: To Do or Not to Do?

Posted on 5/29/2018 by ASCE Insurance

By Sarah A. Johnson, Esq.

Potential and actual claimants and their counsels often request or even demand an engineer’s professional liability insurance information prior to the initiation of litigation and, in some instances, prior to even sending a demand letter.

read more..

Claims Retrospective: Engineers Should Be Prepared for Boomerang Claims

Posted on 5/29/2018 by ASCE Insurance

Sometimes, claimants or their counsels cast a wide net at the beginning of a dispute, sending demand letters and/or filing litigation against every party involved with a project, including the engineers and other design professionals.

read more..

It Can Be Perilous to Agree to Defend and Indemnify Another Party in a Written Contract

Posted on 3/12/2018 by ASCE Insurance in Contracts

By Sarah A. Johnson, Esq.

Most engineers recognize indemnification clauses can be problematic. Under any normal professional liability policy, such as the forms used by Certain Underwriters at Lloyd's of London, there is no coverage for liability assumed under a contract or agreement unless the insured would have such liability in the absence of a contract.

read more..

Claims Retrospective: Fee Disputes Often Lead to Retaliatory Actions Against Engineers

Posted on 3/12/2018 by ASCE Insurance in Claims

Waiting for payment for services rendered can quickly become frustrating if the client is slow to pay, or never sends payment at all. Choosing to take a client to court for non-payment can lead to other challenging issues that should be considered. Many engineers believe if they have not been paid for services rendered, their only recourse is to file a lawsuit for breach of contract to recover the amount due. However, these types of lawsuits can, and often do, result in retaliatory counterclaims against the engineer for negligence or breach of contract.

read more..

Litigation Holds: Engineers May Have a Duty to Preserve Documents and Other Potential Evidence Prior to the Initiation of a Lawsuit

Posted on 11/6/2017 by ASCE Insurance in Documentation Engineers Insurance

By Terri L. Stough, Esq.

Compliance with a "litigation hold" generally means preservation of certain documents which may be relevant to a lawsuit. When a litigation hold is in place, parties must suspend their routine destruction of documents and preserve all documents for examination by another party.

read more..

Claims Retrospective: The Risks in Providing Professional Services to a Party Engaged in Litigation

Posted on 11/6/2017 by ASCE Insurance in Liability Engineers Claims

Requests for professional engineering services by a party already in litigation are not unusual and can present unique challenges. The parties embroiled in litigation are more likely to be emotional, frustrated, upset and/or defensive about the subject project, and pursuing a rational resolution may be clouded by the parties' intransigent positions. The engineer already has some indication that the parties may be difficult to work with, or are generally litigious, so taking precautions to reduce risk is important.

read more..

Professional Corporations Do Not Always Protect Licensed Engineers From Liability

Posted on 8/25/2017 by ASCE Insurance in Liability Licensing Engineers Claims

By Sarah A. Johnson, Esq.

One of the purposes of creating a corporate entity is to limit the liability of those individuals involved with the corporation. Engineers often believe the professional corporation will protect them from liability, in other words, the corporation is liable, not the individual. Unfortunately, that is not always the case.

read more..

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 Claims Engineers

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.

read more..