Professional Negligence Claims for Compensation
Find out how much your personal injury claim may be worth
What is professional negligence?
Broadly speaking, professional negligence occurs where a professional (such as an accountant, financial advisor, architect, barrister, solicitor, or surveyor, to name a few) fails to perform their responsibilities to the required standard and that failure results in their client suffering damage or loss. A claim in professional negligence can be based on both negligent acts and omissions.
By virtue of the services they offer and supply, “professionals” hold themselves out as knowing more about their area of expertise than the average person and as such, in simplistic terms, this means if you have received bad advice, negligent advice or improper conduct from a qualified, professional person and suffered financial loss as a result, you may be entitled to make a claim for professional negligence.
Professional Negligence or Just a Complaint?
It is important to recognise the difference between a professional negligence claim and a complaint about the service provided by the professional. If the actions of the professional have led to a financial loss, for example a solicitor missing a limitation period, and the client then being unable to issue their claim in Court, then this would be a claim for professional negligence.
However, if a client has just received poor service from a solicitor, but has not actually suffered a financial loss as a result of that poor service, then this would be a complaint.
Professional Negligence Claims Against Solicitors
Professional negligence cases against solicitors are quite common. A poorly handled case, such as a personal injury claim, can result in financial losses for clients if the solicitor has not followed the correct procedures or provided the correct legal advice, leading to the under settlement of a case, increased legal costs, or a case being struck out.
Do I have a claim?
Professional negligence is a complex area of law and a number of requirements need to be satisfied in order for you (the claimant) to be able to bring a successful professional negligence claim. To bring a claim for compensation for professional negligence, you must show duty of care, breach of duty, causation and damage, all of which have been explained below.
Duty of care
You will need to show that you have instructed a professional to carry out a particular task for you or to give you a particular piece of advice and that they owed you a duty of care to perform the job to a reasonable standard and with reasonable care.
The most typical situation in which a duty of care would arise is where you have a contractual relationship with the professional, you have paid for the service provided or the advice given and you have relied upon them to carry out the job to a reasonable standard.
Breach of duty
The second question is whether the professional’s conduct fell below the standard that is reasonably required. The standard is objectively determined and is the standard expected of a reasonably competent professional of the same profession.
The third stage is to show that the breach of duty has directly caused the loss or damage suffered. This means that if you would have acted in the same way or suffered the same loss or damage in any event, notwithstanding the professional’s involvement, there can be no causation and no claim.
Finally, an action in professional negligence cannot be brought unless there is actual damage or loss suffered as a result of the alleged negligence. Types of loss that you might incur as a result of professional negligence include damage to property and financial loss.
How Much Can I Claim?
If a Claimant has suffered a financial loss, the amount can generally recover in a professional negligence claim would be the amount that they would have had if the negligence had not occurred. The lost must have been reasonably foreseeable and must have been caused as a direct result of the negligence.
In some cases, the Defendant will argue that the Claimant was partially to blame for the negligence. If they can successfully prove contributory negligence, the amount which can be claimed may be reduced during Court proceedings.
Is There a Time Limit for Making a Claim?
The time limit for bringing a professional negligence claim is six years from the date on which the breach took place. When the six years have passed it may still be possible to bring a claim if the date when you first became aware of the circumstances that gave rise to a claim was a date within the last three years.
Will I Need to Attend a Court Hearing?
The majority of our professional negligence claims settle out of court; however, there are occasions when claims go to trial and you may be required to attend the hearing. We will provide you with all the appropriate assistance and advice prior to attending any hearing.
Why Choose Beacon Law to Deal with Your Professional Negligence Claims?
Professional Negligence litigation raises complex and specialist issues in relation to both liability and quantum (which means the amount your claim is worth). When making a claim for professional negligence, you must follow certain procedures (known as the Pre-Action Protocol for Professional Negligence) or you risk incurring cost penalties or even having your case struck out completely. Compliance with the right procedure shows that there has been co-operation between you and the defendant professional in an attempt to settle the case without going to court.
When claiming for Professional Negligence, it is advisable to use the services of specialist professional negligence solicitors as they can properly advise you on your prospects of success and the procedure you must take.
Our specialist solicitors can help you with your professional negligence claim and we would therefore invite you to contact as on 0330 1332 857 or complete our contact form and we will call you back to discuss the circumstances of your claim, funding and prospects of success.
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Beacon Law is a firm of Solicitors registered in England and Wales. We are authorised and regulated by the Solicitors Regulation Authority. To find out about our no win, no fee claim funding and legal fees, have a look at the funding section on our website.