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Policy Statement 508 - Sole Source Workers Compensation Statute

 

Approved by the Engineering Practice Policy Committee on March 16, 2017
Approved by the Public Policy Committee on June 4, 2017
Adopted by the Board of Direction on July 29, 2017

Policy

The American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) supports Sole Source Workers' Compensation Statutes which protect engineers from litigation.

Issue

The laws in many states do not prohibit a construction worker who is injured on a construction project from suing the engineer as a third-party even though the worker is covered by workers' compensation insurance.

Rationale

Workers' compensation laws provide for compensation for work-related injuries or death of employees, without the need for employees to demonstrate the employer's negligence, and prohibit employees from suing an employer for compensation. Employers purchase workers' compensation insurance as a single, certain remedy to compensate employees if they are injured or killed. The laws of many states, however, do not prohibit an injured employee from suing third parties, including the engineers who are involved in the project where the worker's injury or death occurs. Although engineers may not be responsible for a construction worker's injury or death, these claims can be a source of considerable cost to engineers in terms of both direct legal and related expenses as well as loss of productivity.

Sole Source Workers' Compensation Statutes protect injured workers while extending the immunity provided to employers under workers' compensation laws to engineers, except when they are responsible under contract for the means and methods of construction or for work safety. Such statues are intended to reduce construction project litigation.

ASCE Policy Statement 508
First Approved in 2005

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