ASCE Risk Management Resources


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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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Jurisdictions Where the Economic Loss Doctrine Bars Extra-Contractual Claims Highlight the Importance of Well-Drafted Contracts

Posted on 6/15/2017 by ASCE Insurance in Claims Engineers

By Sarah A. Johnson, Esq.

The economic loss doctrine is the legal principle that economic loss may not be recovered under a negligence or tort theory.1 “Economic loss” has been defined as damages for inadequate value, cost of repair and replacement of a defective product, or the consequent loss of profits, as well as the loss of value of the product due to its inferior quality.2 The theory behind this doctrine is that a purchaser’s wish to reap the benefits of his bargain is not an interest protected by tort law.3 Rather, the remedy for economic loss relating to the purchaser’s disappointed expectations properly lies in contract.4

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Claims Retrospective: Subrogation Demystified

Posted on 6/15/2017 by ASCE Insurance in Claims Engineers Insurance

Meticulous Engineer was hired to do the calculations for the demolition plans in connection with the renovation of Old Warehouse. The drawings indicated that part of Old Warehouse was to be demolished and a small addition was to be added to the remaining part of Old Warehouse. Unfortunately, Destroy Contractors, the demolition contractor, did not follow the demolition plans, causing a collapse to part of Old Warehouse that was intended to be restored and reused.

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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 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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Claim Retrospective: Clients’ Unauthorized Use of Plans and Drawings or Seal and Stamp

Posted on 3/9/2017 by ASCE Insurance in Claims Liability Clients Documentation

Unfortunately, clients commonly use engineers' plans and drawings on subsequent projects without the engineer's permission. Even worse, clients have altered engineers’ plans and drawings before using them in subsequent projects, again without the engineer's approval. Shockingly, clients have even used an engineer's seal and stamp without their authorization.

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