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Professional Negligence

Professional negligence is a complex and specialist area of civil litigation and there are special pre-action protocols you will need to follow to make a professional negligence claim. “Professionals” are considered to be people who have above average ability or knowledge in a particular field. Usually they have a recognized qualification and belong to a governing body, which has rules and guidelines as to how they should conduct themselves and sets standards they should meet. They are considered to owe a “duty of care” to their clients and when this is breached, there may be reason to make a claim against them for professional negligence.

Before launching into a claim for professional negligence you should consider the four questions shown below as these could have a major impact on its success.

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Four Important Questions

Is The Professional Insured?

Many professions, such as lawyers have compulsory professional indemnity insurance. This means they are insured against any mistakes they may make. If the professional is not insured, this will change not only the dynamics of the claim, but it may affect their ability to pay any settlement or judgement sum. This could mean even if you win your case, you don’t receive any damages and to make matters worse are left with hefty legal fees to pay. A good solicitor will always check to see if the professional has professional indemnity insurance

What Were The Terms Of The Contract?

Most professionals will ask clients to agree and/or sign a contract or retainer agreement before commencing work and this will contain detailed terms and conditions. It is important to look at these in-depth to understand exactly what the professional agreed to do and compare this to what was actually done. If they are also in breach of the contract it may lead to a parallel claim for breach of contract.

What Evidence Will Be Needed To Prove Your Case?

The majority of professional negligence claims will require expert evidence to show that the professional in question has not reached the standard of professional duty of care expected of a reasonably competent professional in the area they are working in. This sounds easy, but it can sometimes prove challenging to find a reliable expert who is impartial and suitably experienced to give a valid opinion.

What Losses Have You Suffered From The Professional Negligence?

You might think this is relatively straightforward, but it is actually a complex area, as losses must be proved to be as a consequence of the professional negligence. It is therefore not unusual for a claimant to believe that the recoverable damages are much higher than the law will allow.

How Can Routh Clarke Help You?

We can help you understand if the professional you have been dealing with has been negligent or whether they have breached the terms of the contract. Very often it is possible to settle these types of cases out of court, either using our in-house civil mediator, or by following the professional negligence pre-action protocols either leading to settlement or court proceedings. Spiraling court fees and lengthy waits for court dates, which are presently up to 59 weeks from application to the end of trial, mean settlement through negotiation is much the preferred option. However, we will be by your side from first discussion to the satisfactory conclusion, even if that is in the high court.

Some of the cases we have seen include negligent solicitors, negligent conveyancers, negligent barristers, negligent accountants, negligent surveyors and negligent financial advisors. We have also dealt with many breaches of contract by professionals, between private individuals, private individuals and companies, and between two or more companies. Call us now to discuss how we can help you move forward.