Computer Assisted Mistakes

by Paul M. Lurie, Senior Partner; Neal Gerber Eisenberg & Lurie, 208 S. LaSalle St., Chicago, IL 60604,
Barry D. Weiss, Assoc. Partner; Neal Gerber Eisenberger & Lurie, 208 S. LaSalle St., Chicago, IL 60604,

Serial Information: Civil Engineering—ASCE, 1988, Vol. 58, Issue 12, Pg. 78-80

Document Type: Feature article


The proliferation of computer usage by design engineers will continue to generate change in practice. It will affect the process and production of design. It will affect the relationships between owner, design professional and contractor. It will also change the nature of and responsibility for design error and system failure. Traditionally, engineers avoid legal liability for failures by conformance to generally accepted standard practices. Engineers must now understand the subleties of computer assisted mistakes. They must identify and conform their practices to utilize the evolving standard practices. These practices may require the use of computer generated analysis and information. Traditional loss control techniques may not be sufficient to check computer generated output. This article will help identify those issues having the largest potential impact on the legal liability of engineers, including: computer error, system misuse, verification of computer generated data, accuracy of computer information, liability insurance and warranties. Some solutions will be suggested.

Subject Headings: Liability | Computer aided operations | Errors (statistics) | Failure analysis | Computer analysis | Owners | Architect/Engineers | Contractors and subcontractors

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