Whether you are a business owner or a private person, chances are you rely on a number of professionals for legal and financial counsel, from accounting and soliciting to financial planning and management. These are crucial aspects of your life which involve intimate knowledge of British law and accepted practices, so it is more than natural that you want to place your trust in a seasoned professional to handle such matters. Occasionally, however, said professional will betray your trust, and you will incur material or financial losses as a result. Here is how cases of professional negligence unfold.
Do you have a professional negligence claim?
Establishing your entitlement to bring a negligence claim against the professional is the first step. In order to do this, you start with proof of the professional’s duty of care. This can be plain to see in cases where you hired the professional to advise or guide you in a specific field, like a financial adviser, or to act on your behalf, like a solicitor or surveyor.
Duty of care can also be implied, such as in cases where a professional provided you with advice or guidance without a contractual agreement.
Have you suffered a loss?
Once you have established duty of care, you must also prove you have suffered a loss because the professional did not honour said duty. The loss must be incontestably linked to the professional’s advice or actions and independent of any external factors such as volatile markets, acts of god, or anything else beyond the professional’s control.
Does the claim fall within established time limits?
While there are different limitations for different claims, most professional negligence claims must be brought up to 6 years past the date of negligence.
The time limit can be extended if the alleged negligence was not discovered until later, but keep in mind late claims are harder to argue in court successfully.
Has the professional indeed been negligent?
If you check all the boxes above, your main goal is to furnish the court with proof the professional did not act as a competent and diligent representative of his or her trade, and you suffered losses as a result. The court will carefully consider the facts and make a decision based on legal precedent.
What losses will be recovered?
Should the court find the professional in legal breach of duty, you are owed compensation only for those losses which could have been foreseen reasonably at the time you engaged the professional’s advice or services.
Keep in mind you have no claim to losses attributable to your own proven negligence in the particular case. If you did not take reasonable measures and precautions to limit the potential damage, you bear part of the responsibility, and your compensation suffers accordingly.
What will the proceedings look like?
If you decide to bring your claim, your solicitors will provide you with a detailed breakdown of legal costs and an action plan. Most experienced solicitors will reach a settlement in professional negligence suits before the case is decided in court.