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Professional Negligence Claims

 

If you have been the victim of inadequate advice or improper conduct from a qualified, professional person and lost out financially as a result, you may be entitled to make a claim for professional negligence.

Professionals are legally bound to exercise ‘reasonable skill and care’ when dealing with clients. If they fail to do this and their mistake or omission was one that a reasonable professional working in the same profession would not have made, and you lost money as a direct result of their conduct, then they are liable for damages.

For a professional negligence claim to be successful, you will need to establish the existence of a duty of care on the part of the professional, and that this duty has been breached. Assessing and proving such negligence is a question of fact and each case is assessed on its individual merits and circumstances. 

Proving that there was an act of negligence, and this lack of due care actually caused the loss, can be complex. If it is clear that the duty of care has been breached then it is also necessary to prove that your financial loss came about as a direct result of the negligent professional’s actions. It is only possible to claim for losses that are reasonably foreseeable.

Who can I bring a claim against?

You can bring a claim for negligence against a professional person, firm or body which offered you a service or advice. For example, this includes accountants, surveyors, engineers, architects - or for personal matters dentists and financial advisors.

What can I claim for?

Damages and compensation for professional negligence are intended to put you back into the position you would have been in if the negligence had not occurred. At the outset, it is necessary to carry out an assessment to ensure your case is worth pursuing, and it can be difficult to put a value on your claim. Usually it requires investigation and you may need a third party expert witness to determine the value of your loss.

What can’t I claim for?

You may feel angry and let down, but you cannot bring a claim against a professional just because you are unhappy with their advice or service, you need to prove that you suffered an actual loss as a result of their negligence. For example, poor customer service from an estate agent delaying a property sale is not grounds for a valid claim, but buying a property which is subsequently considered to have been overvalued by a surveyor from the estate agent, is a valid reason to seek recourse.

How do I prove my loss?

Most loss caused by professional negligence is financial, and it is therefore important to keep copies of any invoices, emails, contracts and correspondence as evidence to support your claim. To succeed in your claim, you will need to show that:

  • The professional was negligent in providing their service to you
  • You suffered a financial loss
  • Your financial loss resulted from that professional negligence

Do I have to go to court?

You must follow certain procedures when making a claim for professional negligence, if you don’t you run the risk of incurring cost penalties or your case being thrown out completely. By following the right procedure this will show that there has been co-operation between you and the defendant in an attempt to settle the case without going to court.

Basically, this involves corresponding directly with the negligent professional in question either by yourself or via a solicitor, and setting out the factual and legal basis of your claim.

If no settlement is reached then you may take your case to court. Most professional negligence claims are heard in the county court with the exception being high-value and complex cases, which may go to the High Court.

Are there any time limits to bringing an action?

In most professional negligence cases, you have 6 years to issue court proceedings for a compensation claim, running from the date that your advisor was negligent, or the date that you suffered loss.

Who pays for my claim, I’ve heard a lot about ‘no win, no fee’?

If your solicitor thinks that you have a good professional negligence claim, then they will find a way to fund it for you. They can act as ‘no win, no fee, basis. Remember that if you are successful in your action and win your case, then your opponent will pay most of your legal costs whether or not your solicitor was acting on a ‘no win, no fee’ basis.

How can I start my professional negligence claim?

If you think you have suffered professional negligence, contact us as soon as possible on our freephone number or submit a quick enquiry form, we'll call you back.


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For any enquiries regarding Professional Negligence Claims please contact our Personal Injury Solicitors department on 0800 310 2000
Or enquire online here.