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Re: building codes

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"Until and unless states allow SEORs "police power" for their own projects, requiring construction observation by statute and allowing the SEOR to blow the whistle if something is not satisfactory, this is going to continue to be the case."

Many of the situations I have seen where a clearly innocent party ends up paying boil down to legal costs and insurance.  The plaitiff's lawyer estimates what the claim will cost to defend against, then offers to settle for slightly less if they don't feel like they have a great case.  If the deal looks good enough to the insurer, they may even offer to waive the deductable if the engineer agrees to the deal.  It isn't about guilt or innocence at that point, it's just a cost/benefit analysis on the insurer's behalf.  Do they want to spend $50K to get to a judgement of innocence, with some small chance of a very large judgement, or just pay $40K up front?  If you are running an insurance carrier as a business, the decision may not be hard.  In many cases, the insurance contract puts the insurer in a position to demand that the engineer accept the settlement, or the insurer will not cover any potential judgement in court above and beyond what they wanted to settle for.  That clause in not uncommon.  

Paul Crocker, PE, SE


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