OSPE - The Voice - December 2017 - 31

REduCE YouR Risk of
fRivolous Claims
Engineers and firms can be forced to defend themselves against a
legal claim, even when there has been no wrongdoing. Companies
of all sizes are vulnerable, and the process can be costly and tie up
key resources. The good news is, there are many ways to reduce
your risk and to be prepared if such a situation transpires.

What activities could lead to a
civil claim?
pRofEssIoNal sERvIcEs

* Incomplete documentation
* Advice for repair, refurbishing, renovation
* Disputes related to scope of service, end
outcome or deliverables
* Error in your report or ambiguous reports
* An oversight while drafting or reviewing
* Professional reviews of procedures
* Faulty design resulting in damage, bodily
harm, or requirement for reconstruction
* Issues developing after construction:
mold, water entry, inherent vice, insufficient fire protection
GENERal opERatIoNs

* Supervision
* Libel and slander of a competitor
* Loss of a client's documents
* An oversight during an onsite inspection,
assessment or investigation.
* A breach of your contractual obligations
* Vicarious liability (being held liable for a
sub consultant's work)
* Training provided to others
* Speaking engagements on professional
* Project delays
BREach of REGulatIoNs

* Breach of privacy
* designs that do not meet code
* A complaint made against you to the PEO
* accusation of criminal act
fIElD woRk

* Injury to a 3rd party
* failure of proto-types or products
* Project management -at risk (project
budget, overseeing trades, etc.)
* Damage to a client's equipment or facility
* liability as a tenant

Risk Prevention


You and your company are exposed to risks when conducting work. There are,
however ways to guard against frivolous allegations and help reduce the burden
of defending yourself if you are named in a lawsuit or legal proceeding.
Contractual Agreements: Prior to commencing work, always execute a written
contract to assure that both parties understand and are comfortable with the
details of the agreement. Clearly define the scope of services in written contracts
and define the information you require to achieve the deliverables. The agreement
with your client should be carefully reviewed prior to being signed. Be weary of
indemnification clauses that could oblige you to assume additional liability.
Staffing: always hire personnel and sub consultants that are qualified, ethical
and reputable.
Industry trends and regulations: keep your Certificate of authorization up to
date and be aware of any legislative changes affecting the industry. maintaining
your OSPE membership will help you to stay connected to your peers and have
access to industry information and professional development opportunities.
Documentation: The most important way to prevent misunderstandings is to
ensure that your files are well documented at all stages of your project, including
corresponding notes, copies of permits, meeting minutes, noted phone calls and
emails. Keep draft work and calculations to justify opinions.
Reports: When preparing your report to the client make sure it is clear, concise
and well-written. Ensure the report mentions assumptions, limitations and reliance on third party documents as well as any future contingencies. Confirm that
the client understands the details of the report and assessment.
Insurance: insurance is not the first thing on your mind when operating a business; however, it is invaluable. Having the proper insurance in place will minimize
the financial impact that a claim could have on your business and could help keep
your business afloat. if you have any coverage-related questions, call your broker.
Specialization: acknowledge your limitations in experience when accepting work.
do not provide engineering services that you are not comfortable with or that
are outside of your expertise.
Choose your clients carefully: By working with clients who are known to be
ethical, reputable and financially stable, you significantly reduce your chances of
having a frivolous claim made against you. keep a good rapport with your clients
to encourage honest and clear communication.
Manage client's expectations: Ensure the client understands the scope of services.
Both parties must agree to the scope of the work prior to commencement. It's
important to communicate your expectations and limitations at all stages of the
project. Clearly define the deliverables and timelines when possible. Maintaining
frequent communication with your client will prevent false expectations from
developing. Listen to your client's concerns and address them. Be attentive to their
feedback and do not guarantee results or make promises that cannot be achieved.
Peer Review: Encourage the use of peer reviews and other quality
management tools.

Written by: BMS Canada Risk Services Limited and Corestone Law
Your partners in protection

December 2017




Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of OSPE - The Voice - December 2017

Table of Contents
Table of Contents
OSPE - The Voice - December 2017 - Cover1
OSPE - The Voice - December 2017 - Cover2
OSPE - The Voice - December 2017 - Table of Contents
OSPE - The Voice - December 2017 - 4
OSPE - The Voice - December 2017 - 5
OSPE - The Voice - December 2017 - 6
OSPE - The Voice - December 2017 - 7
OSPE - The Voice - December 2017 - 8
OSPE - The Voice - December 2017 - 9
OSPE - The Voice - December 2017 - 10
OSPE - The Voice - December 2017 - 11
OSPE - The Voice - December 2017 - 12
OSPE - The Voice - December 2017 - 13
OSPE - The Voice - December 2017 - 14
OSPE - The Voice - December 2017 - 15
OSPE - The Voice - December 2017 - 16
OSPE - The Voice - December 2017 - 17
OSPE - The Voice - December 2017 - 18
OSPE - The Voice - December 2017 - 19
OSPE - The Voice - December 2017 - 20
OSPE - The Voice - December 2017 - 21
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OSPE - The Voice - December 2017 - 27
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OSPE - The Voice - December 2017 - 31
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OSPE - The Voice - December 2017 - Cover3
OSPE - The Voice - December 2017 - Cover4