Sunday, August 29, 2010

$52 Million Payment on Minnesota Bridge Collapse

The insurance companies for URS Corp., a major engineering and construction firm, have agreed to pay $52.4 million to settle claims brought against URS for their role in the 2007 collapse of the Interstate 35W bridge in Minneapolis. 

Avoiding Further Litigation:  The payment is not an admission of guilt by URS, but a means to settle the claims brought by families of the 13 people killed in the collapse, and the 145 people injured.  

Design Flaws Not Identified:  URS had been hired by the State of Minnesota to assess the safety of its bridges, but apparently did not identify a design flaw in the Interstate 35W bridge that caused its collapse.

Errors and Omissions Insurance:  Presumably, the payment by URS' insurance companies is coming from a professional liability policy purchased by URS, also know as "errors and omissions" insurance.

More Information:  Click below to read my previous blog entries on the bridge collapse:
Practical Tip:  It is important for public agencies to protect the public interest by requiring designers, such as architects and engineers on public facilities, to carry professional liability insurance to cover errors and omissions that may occur during the design process.  Without the protection of professional liability insurance, a public agency would be faced with responding to, and potentially paying, injury and damage claims that may arise due to design flaws on a project.

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