Professional Negligence compensation
Professional negligence is highly complex. It is essential that you have a specialist and experienced solicitor who can listen to you and clearly explain how your claim is progressing.
Our professional negligence solicitors handle cases locally from our 4 offices in Salisbury, Andover, Fordingbridge and Amesbury throughout Wiltshire, Hampshire, Dorset and throughout England and Wales.
Looking for help with a professional negligence claim? Call our specialist team on FREEPHONE 0800 1404544 or one of our four local office numbers for FREE initial phone advice – no strings attached.
Common types of professional negligence claim
Our team deal with compensation claims against all types of professionals including:
- Barristers and Solicitors Negligence – often as a result of mistakes made in conveyancing transactions or litigation, or incorrectly drafted wills. Click here to read more about suing your solicitor
- Accountants and tax consultants for negligent tax advice. Click here to read more about accountant negligence claims
- Doctors and other medical professionals – for more information see our medical negligence page
- Architects and surveyors – including failure to properly value or spot defects with property. Click here to read more about negligent surveyors and architect negligence claims
- Structural Engineers. Click here to find out more about structural engineer negligence claims
Our team is led by David Patterson, an extremely experienced solicitor and qualified civil mediator who is a member of both the Professional Negligence Lawyers Association and the Commercial Litigation Association.
You do however need to be aware that poor service from a solicitor or other professional does not necessarily amount to negligence. In general terms, if a professional whom you have trusted to deal with your affairs makes a mistake that causes a financial loss, you may have a claim for financial compensation.
Funding your case
Our professional negligence team will discuss with you your options to fund any professional negligence claim you may have, including:
- Paying privately
- Legal expenses insurance – if you have it and it covers this type of case.
When using legal expenses insurance, do I have to stick with their panel solicitor?
No. The law makes it clear that if an insurer provides legal expenses insurance alongside general insurance, then they must allow their customers freedom of choice when it comes picking their own solicitor. So if you want to go with a solicitor of your own choosing, don’t let your insurer insist that only they are allowed to make that choice for you.
- No Win No Fee Agreements [also known as conditional fee arrangements] for suitable cases. Click here to read more about No Win No Fee
Professionals often have extensive insurance policies. Solicitors in particular have to have a high-level of professional indemnity insurance usually £2,000,000 cover or more.
Proving Professional Negligence
Professional Negligence claims can be extremely complex but are often the only way to recover significant losses, so consider the following points if you are considering making a claim:
In order to establish that a professional has been negligent, you must be able to prove;
- that the professional owed you a duty of care AND
- that they breached that duty AND
- as a direct result you have suffered an irrecoverable loss.
Establishing that you were owed a duty of care by a professional will depend upon the relationship between you. However such relationships often involve a direct contractual relationship so establishing a duty of care is often straightforward. However, sometimes a a professional may owe a duty of care to you even where there is no contractual relationship.
The scope of the duty of care is often wider than a strict contractual duty- and generally the standard of service must fall below that which can be reasonably expected of the professional within his or her particular profession. This is usually based on rules of conduct or accepted practice for a profession and/or expert evidence given by a suitable professional in the same field.
Time limits in professional negligence claims
As in other compensation claim cases, there are time limits within which you must put your case. Broadly, you have six years from the negligent act. In any event is always good advice to contact your solicitor as soon as you think you might have a professional negligence claim.
How our Professional Negligence Solicitors can help you
- At your first meeting with our solicitors, we will let you know if your negligence case is worth progressing
- We can discuss the options of funding your professional negligence claim
- If you prefer, we can run your case by e-mail, Zoom video or telephone without you needing to come to our offices
Click here to read more about our Professional Negligence Claims team
Professional Negligence Claims – A Quick Guide To The Likely Process
If you have decided to consult a solicitor about a possible professional negligence claim, then before going into your appointment, it may be a good idea to know what the normal procedure to start a claim is;
- Letter of notification
The first thing your solicitor will probably advise you to do is to notify right in writing, the professional you are considering making a professional negligence claim against. This letter needs to contain your and any third party’s identity, a brief description of your reasons to claim and, if possible, an approximate value of the potential claim. The professional will have 21 days to acknowledge the receipt of this letter.
After this, your professional negligence claims lawyer will help you with the letters that follow:
- Letter of Claim
If you and your professional negligence lawyer decide to proceed with the claim, the next step is to serve a Letter of Claim including the following:
»identity of parties involved in the claim
»a chronological summary of the facts in detail, including key documents
»the reasons the professional is being sued
»any evidence showing how their mistakes have caused a loss
»an estimate of that loss and how you have calculated it, with relevant documents
»whether you appointed an expert, the date and identity
»a request that the professional forwards the letter to their insurers.
Again, the professional will have 21 days to acknowledge the receipt of the letter. Then they have three months to start the investigations about the claim.
- Letter of Response and Letter of Settlement
Once the professional has read the investigations, you should then receive either a Letter of Response or a Letter of Settlement, or both, in one letter.
From the Letter of Response, you can expect the following details:
»the professional admits the claim and so it’s clearly stated
»the professional only accepts part of the claim and states which parts they are accepting
»the professional doesn’t admit or deny
»the professional doesn’t agree with the estimate of the loss and should provide their own estimate
»enclosure of any relevant documents.
The Letter of Settlement will contain proposals for settlement. Your professional negligence solicitors will asses at this point if any of the proposals are worth taking to pursue compensation.
Your Professional Negligence Solicitor – The Need For A Specialist
What ever the negligence behaviour, from accountant negligence to surveyor negligence, the litigation process for this type of claim can be, as any other legal process, lengthy and tricky – and you really need a solicitor who specialises in professional negligence compensation. There are not that many of them.
One of the best ways of spotting whether your solicitor is a genuine professional negligence specialist is to check whether or not they are a member of the Professional Negligence Lawyers Association – the only organisation for law firms specialising in this field. Needless to say our own professional negligence expert is a member.
What are the most common professional negligent claims against Law Firms?
Click here to read more about the 6 most common legal mistakes made by Solicitors
The Role Of The Expert Witness In Negligence Litigation
Their role is to act as an independent, impartial expert who can take a look at your case and all of the issues surrounding it in order to offer their professional opinion on what has happened. This could include deciding whether you have a genuine case of negligence, as well as giving evidence in court if needed.
As this is such an important role, it is vital that any expert witnesses in your case have considerable specialist experience, and know what they are talking about when it comes to negligence – and are willing and able to testify in court to help your case.
Remember, many negligence cases aren’t always entirely clear. It can often be hard to tell whether something is negligence, or whether it is simply bad service or perhaps a genuine accident or mistake that could not have been avoided. Your expert can really clarify theses issues.