Many people don’t realise that if a professional person who they employ makes a mistake, they can claim for any loss incurred.
Here’s a short guide explaining what professional negligence is – and whether you can make a claim if you’ve suffered loss because a professional you employ, such as a solicitor, has not done their job properly.
Professional Negligence Defined
Professional negligence is a common law tort, meaning a wrongful act that unfairly causes another person to suffer loss or harm.
Remedies for all common law torts are available through the civil courts.
The most common tort is negligence, defined as conduct that falls below the standard required to protect other people against unreasonable loss or harm. People who are found to be negligent by the courts have either done something – or have failed to do something – that has caused another person injury or economic loss.
A growing area in the tort of negligence is personal injury professional negligence. This is where a personal injury lawyer or solicitor has failed to act within expected standards, and this failure has caused financial loss to the person claiming personal injury compensation.
Can I Make a Personal Injury Professional Negligence Claim?
You can make a claim for professional negligence if you can demonstrate the following:
1. You were owed a duty of care – your personal injury lawyer owes you a duty of care in that he or she is expected to manage your claim in line with certain professional standards.
2. Your personal injury lawyer has breached this duty of care.
3. You have suffered loss as a result of the duty of care being breached – e.g. if your personal injury claim has been settled and you believe that, because of a poor standard or service, the amount of compensation that you have received is below what is should have been.
Is There Anything Else I Should Know Before Making a Professional Negligence Claim?
There are a couple of things you should be aware of before starting proceedings:
Time limits – usually, professional negligence claims must be brought within six years of the negligent act. This can sometimes be extended if the negligence only becomes apparent at a much later date.
Possible court attendance – your professional negligence lawyer will, at first, follow what is known as the “Pre-Action Protocol” for professional negligence claims. This is a form of alternative dispute resolution where both parties talk to each other early on and do their best to reach a settlement. If this cannot be achieved and the case goes to trial, then you may need to attend court to give evidence.
An experienced professional negligence lawyer can advise you through all of these steps, evaluate the circumstances of your professional negligence compensation claim and help guide you to the outcome you deserve.
Slater and Gordon Lawyers are one of the largest personal injury law firms in the UK and our expert professional negligence lawyers have many years’ experience in guiding people to brighter outcomes.
For more information, call us 24/7 on freephone 0800 916 9046 or contact us online.