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RE: Legal and liability - using my stamp

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> Thanks to all who responded.  Very educational.
> So far, several people have said that insurance is of questionable
> use and may even be a bad idea.

Most of the responses have indicated that insurance is not needed.  For a
sole practitioner with limited personal assets (house, car, checking
account, etc.), I mostly agree with this.  But when your company and company
assets get larger things start to change.  

Reasons to get E&O Insurance:
1. I think I remember that you're working for a construction company or
supplier that is going to start designing (and sealing) its own work.  Since
your work will be done as a representative of your company, your company
will also be liable.  Your company could be the "Deep Pockets" that the
lawyers are looking for, and insurance could protect you.  Keep in mind that
you can be pulled into a lawsuit even if you design everything perfectly.

2. When the number of people doing design grows, the chance of mistakes
grows even faster.  You're just as liable for the full design if you are
responsible for checking the work of a room full of EIT's (or designers) or
if you do all the work yourself.

3. Some clients require that all design consultants carry E&O insurance.
You could potentially lose out on some large projects if you don't have any.

> There is also the discussion about who should stamp what.

I think this was covered by others, specifically, the person who does the
design is legally required to do the stamping.

> Also, there is risk, including lifetime
> liability and "prior acts" liability.  If the risk is not dealt with
> by insurance, or even if it is, it should be compensated for with a
> decent salary, partial ownership, etc.

Decent salary is a minimum.  Partial ownership might be extreme, depending
on what percentage of the work is design-based.  If partial ownership is not
an option, make sure that your engineering decisions can't be overridden by
executive financial decisions.

> Now I have some things to talk to my firm about.  What a great list.

Yes, it is.

Jason Kilgore
Leigh & O'Kane, LLC
Kansas City, Missouri

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