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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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: The Significance of a Global Settlement in Multi-Party Litigation

Posted on 10/6/2016 by ASCE Insurance in Claims Contracts

Why can’t we settle the claim? The answer is often that we cannot obtain a global settlement. Unfortunately, such an answer is not always easy for engineers to understand. As you might imagine, the more parties involved in the litigation, the more difficult it can be to get everyone to agree on a resolution.

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Know the Limits of Your Contract

Posted on 4/15/2016 by ASCE Insurance in Construction Contracts

General contractors and developers rarely have insurance covering construction defect claims, and they regularly become insolvent and/or judgment proof after a project is completed. Because of this, homebuyers often attempt to expand the duties of design professionals beyond those imposed by common law or agreed to in a contract. Illinois homebuyers recently attempted to expand the duties and attendant liability of design professionals by arguing the doctrine of implied warranty of habitability applies to design professionals.

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What You Need to Know About Liability Clauses

Posted on 3/13/2015 by ASCE Insurance in Contracts

Many architects and engineers incorporate a limitation of liability clause into their contracts. A limitation of liability clause is exactly what it sounds like: a clause that limits your liability in the event of a claim. Limitation of liability clauses establish “a contractual ceiling on the amount of damages to be awarded if a plaintiff prevails in later litigation between the contracting parties.” Therefore, a limitation of liability clause is a useful precautionary piece of armor to include in your contract.

By Sarah A. Johnson, Esq.

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How to Memorialize Your Scope of Services

Posted on 3/13/2015 by ASCE Insurance in Claims Contracts

Recent claims have revealed that a number of engineers have not been memorializing the scope of their services in writing, either in a written contract or even in a written work order. While this may not be problematic if the project proceeds smoothly, projects often involve complications and issues, leaving the client/owner dissatisfied with some aspect of work. Nor is it unusual for serious construction defects to surface after the completion of a project. Thus, the best practice is for you to routinely memorialize the scope of your services in writing, preferably through the use of a written contract.

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He Said/She Said is Not a Good Plan

Posted on 12/15/2014 by ASCE Insurance in Documentation Contracts

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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