PileDriver Magazine: 'Unique Legal Risks for Pile Drivers'

Legal Regimes for Addressing the Risk of Third Party Claims

Unique Legal Risk for Pile Drivers: Understanding Liability

By Jay Houghton, Seyfarth Shaw LLP
(Originally published in PileDriver magazine, Issue #6 - 2020)

Pile driving presents a unique set of legal risks. The uniqueness of those risks stems from two aspects of pile driving: (1) the geotechnical properties of each project site are unique to the project location; and (2) the effects of pile driving activity can sometimes impact the project's other construction activities and its surroundings.

Effectively managing the inherent third-party risks of pile driving begins with understanding the legal framework of third-party claims, which varies greatly from state to state (and, sometimes, county to county). This article will briefly analyze the legal landscape of third-party liability for pile drivers and outline how they must be factored into an effective risk management strategy.

As mentioned above, each state approaches the issue of liability in its own way, but they generally do so within one of three general frameworks. The most draconian approach to third party risks is one in which pile driving is classified, by default, as an ultra-hazardous activity similar to blasting with explosives. Louisiana, for instance, applies this doctrine of strict liability...CLICK HERE to continue reading in PileDriver magazine.


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