Top 3 Causes for Engineer Malpractice Claims

Becoming an engineer is no easy task. On top of the rigorous courses an engineering student has to take, they also have to pass difficult exams. Performing the duties of an engineer isn’t stress-free either. Of course, every profession has its own stress. However, with engineers, it has been observed by David J. Kerkes, a geotechnical engineering independent consultant, that there is a strong likelihood of lawsuits being levied against those in the profession. Particularly, malpractice claims. As an insurance agent, it is pivotal that you make an effort to inform your engineer clients about their profession’s higher risk of lawsuits.

Top 3 Reasons Why Engineers are Sued

Lawsuits are nothing to trifle with or take lightly as they can be career-ending. Be sure to review with your clients these top three malpractice claims.

#1: An Avoidable Error

The work of an engineer is complex and tedious. Often, a simple miscalculation can result in a malpractice claim. Both Kerkes and David L. Blank (attorney and head of Schwartz Simon Edelstein & Ceslo LLC) concur that a majority of negligence claims fall within the categories of errors or omissions.

Though your clients are diligent and double-check for errors, the truth is that no one is perfect. Insist that they consider professional liability insurance and that they begin sending their work through a trusted colleague before submission.

#2: Poor Customer Service

Sidestepping confrontation, though nice in the short term, can be disastrous in the long term. Failure to deal with frustrated clients along with avoiding their complaints and questions is sure to lead to a malpractice claim.

Inform your clients of the necessity of communication and addressing complaints sooner rather than later. If there is going to be budget overruns or project delays, best to inform clients and take a scolding than to hold off and receive a lawsuit.

#3: Taking on Too Much Work

In larger firms, many engineers can double-check and make corrections to each other’s work. Having multiple engineers decreases the likelihood of getting sued over avoidable errors. For a small firm or an engineer just starting, they might not have this luxury.

Of your clients who fall into this latter category, encourage them to hire an independent contractor or to establish a reciprocal relationship with another firm or partner. Also, check to see if these independent contractors have both professional liability and general liability insurance. Only lawsuits will follow for those who do not practice proper vetting.

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