×
INTELLIGENT WORK FORUMS
FOR ENGINEERING PROFESSIONALS

Contact US

Log In

Come Join Us!

Are you an
Engineering professional?
Join Eng-Tips Forums!
  • Talk With Other Members
  • Be Notified Of Responses
    To Your Posts
  • Keyword Search
  • One-Click Access To Your
    Favorite Forums
  • Automated Signatures
    On Your Posts
  • Best Of All, It's Free!

*Eng-Tips's functionality depends on members receiving e-mail. By joining you are opting in to receive e-mail.

Posting Guidelines

Promoting, selling, recruiting, coursework and thesis posting is forbidden.

Students Click Here

Are engineers personally liable for a mistake when working for a comp

Are engineers personally liable for a mistake when working for a comp

Are engineers personally liable for a mistake when working for a comp

(OP)
Can an engineer be held liable for a mistake he or she made when working for a company? My thoughts are no but a company owner is implying otherwise.

RE: Are engineers personally liable for a mistake when working for a comp

Where are you located? Rules depend on where you are.

RE: Are engineers personally liable for a mistake when working for a comp

It also depends on the work you are doing.  If you are working under an industrial exemption then your company can protect you from Errors and Omissions claims.  

If you stamp something, then it gets a lot harder.  In New Mexico, I got my P.E. while working for a multi-national company.  The attorneys at that company advised me that I could not stamp anything for them while employed unless I was willing to accept all liability (without insurance) and that they were not allowed to even contribute to my legal defence (one of them said that I couldn't go to court on their time, I would have to take vacation, I think he was probably over the top).

Read the admonition in my signature--talk to a lawyer.

David Simpson, PE
MuleShoe Engineering
www.muleshoe-eng.com
Please see FAQ731-376: Eng-Tips.com Forum Policies for tips on how to make the best use of Eng-Tips Fora.

"It is always a poor idea to ask your Bridge Club for medical advice or a collection of geek engineers for legal advice"

RE: Are engineers personally liable for a mistake when working for a comp

Lburg..as others noted, it depends.  Most companies indemnify their engineers for errors and omissions; however, in many states, the engineer may have joint and several liability with the company, so yes, they can sue you and yes, you can be held liable.

Should you rush out and get E&O insurance on a personal basis?  I would not.  I have worked for large and medium sized engineering firms and have owned my own firms.  With my own firms, I have (and have had) E&O insurance for the company that covered me.  The same was true of the firms for which I worked, and I work in a state that allows the engineer to be sued separately for engineering acts.

RE: Are engineers personally liable for a mistake when working for a comp

To follow on Ron's comment, if you work for a company and that company has insurance, it might be to your advantage NOT to have personal liability insurance even if in your location/line of work you have personal responsibility.

The logic is that suing you is expensive. If you have insurance, it is worth the bother and the expense to sue you in hope of getting some money from the insurance company. If you have no insurance, they could sue you but it is unlikely that your net worth will cover even their legal fees. Perverse, isn't it?

RE: Are engineers personally liable for a mistake when working for a comp

(OP)
Kelowna-I am located in Kentucky working for a consulting firm that does have insurance.  I will check with a lawyer but I wanted to come here first.  

Thanks for everyones input.  

RE: Are engineers personally liable for a mistake when working for a comp

What does a plaintiff have to gain by suing an engineer?  Nothing.  Lawyers go after deep pockets so it seems natural to sue the company because: 1) large companies might settle out of court to avoid bad publicity. 2) Comapnies are either/or: well insured or have deep enough pockets that the lawyer has reasonable expectation to get paid.

 

RE: Are engineers personally liable for a mistake when working for a comp

Although I could see a case where a company might lose a lawsuit and turn around and sue the engineer to try and recoup some of their losses.

RE: Are engineers personally liable for a mistake when working for a comp

(OP)
I would be more worried about all parties involved being brought into a suit.

Thanks

RE: Are engineers personally liable for a mistake when working for a comp

In my home state, individuals are routinely chraged in a lawsuit along with the companies they work for.
I think it gives the lawyers a little something to negotiate.

RE: Are engineers personally liable for a mistake when working for a comp

In my area of the Southeast US, if a lawyer is suing a company, there is no extra cost or effort to add the PE to the lawsuit.  The PE is often added not to actually collect any money, but to provide the threat that they may actually go after your personal assets.  This is often done in hopes of getting that PE to testify against his employer on the condition of being separated from the suit.  I have often seen employers and insurance companies go out of their way to help/protect their PE to keep him from flipping to the other side.

RE: Are engineers personally liable for a mistake when working for a comp

The company is primarily responsible, but anyone can sue anyone else for almost anything here in the U.S.A.

Matt Lorono
Lorono's SolidWorks Resources & SolidWorks Legion

&

Red Flag This Post

Please let us know here why this post is inappropriate. Reasons such as off-topic, duplicates, flames, illegal, vulgar, or students posting their homework.

Red Flag Submitted

Thank you for helping keep Eng-Tips Forums free from inappropriate posts.
The Eng-Tips staff will check this out and take appropriate action.

Reply To This Thread

Posting in the Eng-Tips forums is a member-only feature.

Click Here to join Eng-Tips and talk with other members! Already a Member? Login



News


Close Box

Join Eng-Tips® Today!

Join your peers on the Internet's largest technical engineering professional community.
It's easy to join and it's free.

Here's Why Members Love Eng-Tips Forums:

Register now while it's still free!

Already a member? Close this window and log in.

Join Us             Close