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Re: Survey, final result (Corrected)

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Dennis S. Wish wrote:

> Snip.

Snip, snip, snip...

> Stick to the problems - we need to clean up the legal profession, not spend
> additional on an organized protection scheme (like the guys with bulges
> under their coats that tell offer you protection from themselves). Once we
> legislate out frivolous suits and Cross-complaints we will all be better
> off - and insurance will be affordable. How about a no-fault protection for
> those who are pulled into a complaint just because they have coverage.
> I don't believe you should throw good money away just because you have an
> agent who reviews your contract for loopholes. Any contract can be tested in
> court.

Been there, had that happen. Another angle is "I'll let you out if you promise
not to bite back". The business of pulling firms into lawsuits by certificate of
merit appears to be booming. Don't get me started...

> I'd like to hear from engineers who have good coverage and good contracts
> and who have been sued. How many of you were innocent? How many have had
> your insurance company not represent your interest and settle even though
> you were not liable from the beginning? Who's reputation is hurt by this?
> How much of this "Out-of-court" settlement is used against an engineer in
> the future of his practice by clients who want public information as to
> whether an engineer was sued and if he paid out any settlements?

The first time you are sued, it is devastating. Next time less so and so on. I
still get upset, but have had to learn to pass it on to the consumer (overhead).
I, being a consumer, find this offensive and support efforts to not make this a
growing part of the equation.

On another point, I have wrestled with the "to have or not to have" question. In
my earlier days, (out of college) I resisted insurance on a stand up and be
responsible attitude. Wisdom teaches that you can have pride and responsibility
but don't need to gamble in the face of an unfair system. While I won't side
with mandatory requirements for insurance for professional engineers (at least
not yet), I find the analogy to automobile coverage compelling. Aside from the
requirement that it be carried, the logic of such is understandable when mixing
with responsible and irresponsible parties on the roadway. Don't we see
recklessness in our professional lives? And how many unfortunate slips have made
there way into our drawings and calcs. I abhor nit picking when it serves only
to find something, anything to keep a deep (or even small) pocket in the pool.

One cannot wait for better, fairer days in which to practice structural
engineering. As you say to your kids, in the old days... We also recognize that
whenever we solve one problem another (may) arise. So what is our rallying call
around this issue? Work for and support a more rational legal posture on these
issues. It appears to be the 500lb gorilla issue (Trial Lawyers Assoc.) but
there surely is support in the insurance industry itself. Give me some ways I
can help.

Barry H. Welliver
Draper, Utah