What has been your involvement with legal issues?
Here are the results of the legal issues point of view poll:
- Of the total 96 respondents, 78 percent said that they have testified as an expert witness while 22 percent have not.
- Of that 78 percent, 87 percent (65) charged on a time rate while only 7 percent charged a lump sum estimate. Six percent had some other means of charging.
- Most surveyors (56 percent) charged a special rate, while only 35 percent charged their standard rate.
- Most all of those who had been expert witnesses (80 percent) said they included everything (prep time/time spent at courthouse/travel time, etc.) in the fee. Only 12 percent included only time spent testifying.
- Less than a third of respondents have been a defendant in a professional negligence case, or 27 percent. And a full 73 percent of those (19) settled out of court. The most common reason given for this was that is cost less than going to court (50 percent) followed by the defendant believing they were guilty with 15 percent, 8 percent said that their insurer wouldn’t back them and only 1 respondent, or ½ percent said that they could not afford it.
- The last time most respondents (40 percent) had been involved in litigation related to surveying was within the last 1-5 years. About 15 percent had been involved this year, another 15 percent responded that they had been involved in the last 5-10 years and 17 percent said it had been more than 10 years since they had any involvement in litigation.
- As to how many times surveyors had been involved in litigation related to surveying, most of those taking this poll said 2-5 times, 44 percent responded with that statistic. A quarter of respondents said they had been involved only once and 17 percent said they had been involved more than 5 times.
- Just over half, 55 percent, of respondents replied that they had a certain lawyer that they went to regularly for advice. And 35, or 36 percent, said that they did not.
- Sixty-three percent (63%) of respondents said they carry professional liability insurance, while 35 percent said that they did not.
- When asked why they did not carry it, the top reason was too expensive, followed by the belief that it is unnecessary, and finally self-insured.
- Contracts, do surveyors always use them? Well, almost always. At least 63 percent responded that they always do. The remaining 37 percent said that they did not always use them.
- And 36 percent of respondents said that they had been involved in a client dispute because of lack a contract. A majority of those who answered this question, 58 percent of total respondents, said that they had not been involved in a client dispute for that reason.
- 72 percent of respondents were land surveyors, 4 percent were engineers and 10 percent were both.