Dear Abby Advice for Engineers– too good not to share!

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A recent column in the ENR shares a plethora of good advice for structural engineers–and any design professional–who wants to avoid a lengthy, ugly construction claim lawsuit.  Among the good gems in the article:
  • “E-mails can haunt. ‘Any e-mail you write can be used against you. Be careful—don’t write anything you don’t want to show up on the front page of your local newspaper.’” [I always say: imagine having to explain what you wrote to your elderly grandmother.].
  • “A tip: Mediate, mediate, mediate: This is the chance to control the outcome. In arbitration or in front of a jury, others control the outcome.” [This is very true. Early mediation can sometimes be productive, but other times some discovery is necessary first. Each case is different, so discuss when to mediate with your lawyer.]
  • “Be careful what you say. Example: If you call the contractor ‘an asshole,’ you are not covered by your insurance; if, as the observer of the process, you call the contractor incompetent, you are.”  [While I’m not nuanced in the acceptable derogatory language that may or may not be covered by your insurance policy, in general err on the side of caution. Think of your grandmother again when you decide what language you will use.]
  • “It’s not the size of the claims that hurts, it’s the time it takes to fight it—and the cost…Get your insurer’s assistance during the project to try to resolves issues as they arise.” [Very good advice.  Often, free claims prevention/loss prevention services are covered under your errors & omissions insurance policy.] 
haunted house
 
Have you been haunted by the ghosts of emails you've written.
 

           Photo (c) Moon Stars Paper blog.