Hazards and Duty of the Design Function

Professionals engaged in design are in a unique situation because they do not have the opportunity to fully protect themselves from all potential liability claims.

For example, design professionals cannot generally obtain liability insurance in excess of $5 million.

When allocating risk under risk management, it is unfair to allocate risk to the design professional where potential defects are caused by a contractor, the client or third parties over whom the designer has no control.

For this reason, the liability of design professionals is usually limited to a negotiated amount, typically the amount of insurance available to the design professional at the time any claim is made and only for those areas for which the designer has assumed direct responsibility.

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