Just one lawsuit has the potential to ruin an engineer’s entire career. Avoid legal trouble and protect yourself by running designs past a trusted colleague, practicing good customer service, having independent contracts conduct external reviews, and securing professional liability insurance for engineers.
Before it comes down to the claims process, you can avoid the time and money these situations will cost you by understanding the most common causes of professional liability insurance claims in the engineering profession.
Making an Avoidable Blunder
As an engineer, you work with complex concepts and are at a high risk of claims. You may be surprised to learn that the source of many professional liability lawsuits is simple miscalculations. Many negligence claims against engineers fall into the categories of errors or omissions, meaning that something was wrong with or left out of a design.
Ponder upon the number of calculations that one project could take and add to that the number of clients you juggle, with everything else that goes into running your business and the chance of errors, doesn’t seem so unlikely. This is why professional liability insurance for engineers is a crucial component for a safe and strong engineering practice. This coverage can help pay for legal expenses if your work turns out to cause an issue. Also, have a trusted colleague run through your work before you submit your designs. This may add to your timeline and budget, but it could well be worth it.
Ignoring Warning Signs
If you ignore any issues on the horizon, don’t be surprised if it brings about a negligence lawsuit. Always look out for signs of frustrated clients, such as frequent complaints, confusion over contractual obligations and persistent questions about your choices, as these all could indicate that trouble is coming and something must be done. Pay close attention to what frustrates clients, including budget overruns or project delays.
With design or communication issues, take action immediately. Confrontation isn’t fun, and you may end up taking the blame, but people appreciate you taking initiative and handling it directly.
Taking on too Much
Calling on independent consultants to perform an internal review of every design prior to completion may be a smart move considering how many areas of practice engineering has, but if this is beyond your budget, consider setting up a reciprocal relationship with another engineering firm. It is important to note that independent contractors bring about an entirely new set of risks, so check their certificate of liability before you hire them. They should carry both professional liability and general liability insurance.
Consult an attorney before signing any contract since every project is unique and protect yourself with professional liability insurance for engineers.
About Bozzuto & Co. Insurance Services, Inc.
Bozzuto & Company Insurance Services has provided business and personal insurance solutions to clients throughout California since its founding in 1981. Our experienced staff understands the unique needs that each person has when insuring their lives and their businesses, and we pride ourselves on our deeply personal customer service. We are happy to help you through every step of the insurance selection process. Contact us today at (800) 400-6394 to learn more about what we can do for you.