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Policy Statement 508 - Sole Source Workers Compensation Statute

 

Approved by the Engineering Practice Policy Committee on March 12, 2020
Approved by the Public Policy Committee on May 11, 2020
Adopted by the Board of Direction on July 11, 2020

Policy

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

Issue

Current laws do not prohibit an employee injured while performing work at a construction project site from alleging negligence against a professional engineer or engineering company as a third-party when the worker's injury has been covered by workers' compensation insurance.

Rationale

Workers' compensation laws provide compensation for work-related injuries or death suffered by an of employee, 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 during a work-related activity. However, current laws/statues do not prohibit an injured employee from suing third parties, including a professional engineer or engineering company who are involved in the project where the worker's injury or death occurs. A professional engineer or engineering company would be required to respond to the lawsuit even in the absence of negligence. In responding to a lawsuit with the absence of negligence the professional engineer or engineering company named as a party must expend resources which may not be recoverable.

Sole Source Workers' Compensation Statutes protect injured workers while extending the immunity provided to employers under workers' compensation laws to a professional engineer or engineering company, except when they are responsible under contract for the means and methods of construction or for work safety or due to negligence. Such statues are intended to reduce construction project litigation and have reduced third party claims.

ASCE Policy Statement 508
First Approved in 2005


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