How Your Disgruntled Client Can Turn Into Your Very Own Car Crash! (and How to Avoid It) (Law Tips)

Race track

Just like there are ways of minimizing your risk of car accidents, there are also ways to minimize your risk of a lawsuit.

January 21, 2019
Melissa Dewey Brumback - Construction Law in North Carolina

Over the summer, I was involved in a car crash. It was *not* my fault– heck, I wasn’t even driving but riding shotgun. But it wasn’t my husband’s fault either. A guy pulling out of a parking lot was watching the traffic coming up the road, but failed to see our car sitting in the same intersection waiting to turn into the same parking lot. He ran right into us.

It may not look like much, but the panels were so damaged it cost almost $9k in damages, over a month of car rental fees, and a LOT of aggravation on our part. The guy who hit us was very nice, apologized, and was concerned if we were injured. His insurance company ultimately paid for all of the damage. However– it wasn’t he who suddenly got a new part time job– that was me. I had to spend lots of time with police, insurance representatives, auto body mechanics, rental car places, you name it. If you’ve ever been in an accident, you know the headache involved. In fact, I have had 2 other accidents over the years (again, neither of which were my fault– I think I’m just a beacon for bad drivers?). One of those accidents was a 4 car accident– a driver hit my car, pushing it into the car ahead, which went into the car ahead of that. In that accident, my car was actually totaled. Fun times!

How is this relevant to your life as an architect or engineer? If you stay in the game (that is, the design field) long enough, chances are, you will, at some point, end up dealing with disgruntled clients. One of those clients may even file a lawsuit against you. Or, for that matter, you may end up getting sued by another party involved in your construction projects– one that you don’t even have a contract with.

Ms. Brumback may be contacted at


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