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RE: Food for thought

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Mike,
IMHO, you can state whatever you like on a work agreement or contract,
however, it is not binding until tested in court. Regardless of the
protection against liability this doctor or any engineer feels is adequately
stated in his terms and conditions - with the proper financial inducement,
the liability can almost always (with the exception of frivolous law suites)
be brought to trial and challenged.
It's like the sign above the coat rack in a restaurant that states the
proprietor is not responsible for theft or loss. This has been taken to
court many times and in many cases, the restaurant owner has been found
liable due to negligence.
I don't think any disclaimer can protect the professional for negligence,
however, I do believe that he can be protected when there was no guarantee
in the beginning as to the effectiveness of the service.
For one example, there is no earthquake proof structure - therefore any
engineer can be sued for negligence when a structure is damaged. However, if
the design and construction followed acceptable code compliance there should
be no liability.
Inasmuch as the justice system is filled with loopholes, my opinions are
idealistic at best.
The rule of thumb is never to rule out legal actions against you - just
don't wave a pot of gold under their noses that will motivate them to test
the waters at everyone's expense.
Dennis Wish PE


-----Original Message-----
From: Mike Brown [mailto:mike.brown(--nospam--at)cshqa.com]
Sent: Wednesday, April 15, 1998 9:51 AM
To: seaoc
Subject: Food for thought


I went to a Doctor the other day to see about getting a deviated septum
repaired.  We went over the procedure with explanations on what would
happen and the benefits of making the repairs.  I was now ready to make the
appointment and go through with the operation.

However, I was then sent to a person to discuss money and liability.
During this process I was suppose to sign a waiver of liability which
basically stated that if the procedure did not work, too bad.  I wouldn't
even get my money back.

So, I was just thinking.  Why couldn't we do that?  Just have our clients
sign a waiver stating that if a building had a structural failure, then too
bad, it just wasn't ment to be.

Of course I know that this is unethical, impractical, bad for business and
the profession, etc.  But how come the medical profession can get away with
this type of treatment?  I understand that there is a lot of lawsuits filed
against physicians, but there are a lot of lawsuits filed against engineers
as well.  I just believe that if you say you are going to provide a
service, you provide that service.

Maybe I'm just missing something.