Costs and Funding?
When instructing a solicitor to represent you, your main concern is likely to be cost! All initial enquires with us are free of charge. Legal fees can be very costly people who may have a genuine claim can be put off from from instructing a solicitor.
Conditional fee Agreements (CFA)
Here at Been Let Down our solicitors will assess your potential claim at the initial stage. If our assessment determines that your claim has a reasonable prospect of success, we are willing to offer to deal with your claim by way of a conditional fee agreement. This is typically referred to as a ‘no win no fee’ agreement. The agreement is in writing and sets out the conditions of engagement between you the client and us the solicitors. This means that if we are not successful we will not charge you for our legal fees. We also guarantee that there will be no upfront legal fees.
Do I have a Case?
Been let down - We have been assisting people who have suffered financial losses due to professional negligence for 4 years. We are very successful at what we do. Our aims are straightforward, if you decide to appoint us to represent you in pursing your claim, we will fight on your behalf to secure the compensation you deserve. We will also ensure that you are kept up to date and you are notified of any issues and developments as they unfold. To give you an idea whether you have a claim against a professional we have provided a guide against which all claims will be vetted to give you an idea of what we look for to determine whether you have a reasonable prospect of success. We will attempt to assess your claim at the initial contact stage but sometimes this is not possible. We may need to undertake investigations and obtain documents such as medical records and your professionals file of papers. We will also discuss with you our legal fees and funding arrangements, for further information about this please refer to our costs and funding information page. The key features of any potential professional negligence claim are:
Does the professional person owe a duty of care?
This is easy to prove in most circumstances. There more than likely will be either a verbal or more commonly a written agreement (terms and conditions of engagement) between you and the professional person/organisation. This contract (agreement) will specify the work which you have instructed the professional person to carry out (undertake) on your behalf, it will contain general information to include costs, time frames etc. There is an implied duty of care that the professional person will carry out that work with proper skill and diligence. Most professional negligence actions arise when the professional’s conduct/actions falls below that of a reasonably competent professional in the same or similar circumstance.
Did the professional person conduct breach the duty of care owed?
Did the professional person/organisation ‘let you down’ and breach their duty of care he/she owed to you. This happens when the standard which you would expect has fallen below that of a reasonably competent professional. This is not only confined to mistakes made by the professional person. The most common causes are:
Incorrect advice leading to financial loss or ruin;
That the professional person has gone beyond what they were appointed to do;
That the professional person has simply not done something that they should have for example complying with a court order resulting in a claim being struck out!;
Information which is fundamental has been withheld resulting in a loss of chance;
Below standard workmanship resulting in loss of value;
Concealment of important information which may have affected the outcome;
Incorrect diagnosis resulting in personal injuries;
Poor skill and care resulting in personal injuries;
The above list is not exhaustive, please therefore contact us to discuss further if your situation does not fall in line with the above criteria;
Did the professionals breach of duty cause you to suffer financial loss or chance
This is often the most difficult part to establish against the professional person. In some cases it may be obvious that the professional’s actions have resulted in you suffering a financial loss and this may be identified early on. However there are occasions where the professional may have let you down but you would have ended up in the same position but for the negligence of the professional person. This is something that will need to be carefully considered when considering whether your claim as a reasonable prospect of success. There may also be more than one professional person involved in your claim, such as a solicitor, barrister or a GP and a consultant, a builder, surveyor, architect etc. This adds further complexities which will all need to be investigated as part of the claim. If you consider that you have been let down and you have suffered a financial loss, please contact one of our specialist solicitors for a free no obligation assessment of your case. If you are unsure please also contact us to discuss further.
Negligence or just a complaint
It is sometimes difficult to know where to turn when you have been let down by a professional person or company. You may feel frustrated and undervalued by the professional person or his/her employer. They may not be listening to your concerns and needs.
Your experience may lead you to believe that the standard of advice and professionalism that you expected is not being delivered or achieved. Most if not all professional people must comply with a strict code of conduct. They are also most likely to be regulated by a professional body or institution. Professionals generally take their professional obligations very seriously. Examples of the professional bodies are:
Solicitors Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA)
Barristers Bar Council
Accountants Association of Accounting Technicians (ATT)
Surveyors Royal Institution of Charted surveyors (RICS)
Doctors General Medical Council (GMC)
Dentist General Dental Council (GDC)
Architects Royal institute of British Architects
It may be the case that the professional who has let you down has contrived their own professional conduct rules.If your complaint is a simple matter of not being listened too or the professional person/company has provided an unsatisfactory or inadequate service, then you may have cause to complain to the professional firm dealing with your matter. If you cannot get the problem resolved by that method without a suitable outcome and solution, then you may be entitled to complain to the professional body which regulates that professional. There may also be an Ombudsman service, such as the Legal Ombudsman or Financial ombudsmen. These services are government funded and available to the general public who are concerned about poor service received from professional people. Please note that if you do contact the ombudsman and your complaint is upheld and damages are awarded, you may not then be able to pursue the professional person/company for an additional remedy dependant upon the sitution. If you are unsure how you deal with your situation and you consider that the professional person or firm involved has been negligent resulting in a personal financial loss or loss of chance and would like to talk it over with one of our solicitors please contact us.
What time limit do I have?
What is time limitation?
There are specified statutory time limits imposed by law for bringing negligence claims. These limitation periods are contained within the Limitation Act 1980. In personal injury actions including medical negligence you will have 3 years from the date of injury or incident to bring your claim and commence a claim at court against the negligent professional/party. Failure to comply or recognise the relevant limitation period or date may result in you losing your opportunity to pursue your claim. The courts when considering whether you should be allowed to continue with a claim after limitation as expired, will only exercise its discretion to allow you to proceed in exceptional circumstances. Limitation in medical negligence claims can be a complex issue and is often a point of discussion and contention between the parties involved in litigation, if you are in doubt do not delay and contact us to discuss further.
Children (Minors) and protected parties
It should be noted that children (minors) and protected parties (persons who are deemed to have an unsound mind) will have 3 years from their 18th birthday (21 years) to bring a claim for personal injury (including medical negligence) to commence a claim at court.
Concealing negligence and/or date of knowledge
There are and have been circumstances were an individual has discovered that a medical condition causing injury or complication has been caused by a negligent party many years after the negligence. If such a circumstance arises, you may have 3 years from either the date of knowledge of the injury/complication or the date when you ought to have reasonably known of the injury.
Injured in an Airport, plane or ship?
If you are injured on a plane/air balloon or in an Airport, the Carriage by Air Act 1961, section 5 (1) applies and restricts limitation for personal injury for a period of 2 years. If you are injured on a ship limitation is also restricted to a period of 2 years when bringing a claim for personal injury, see Marine liability Act s23 (1) and the Athens Convention Art 16. This is not commonly known that a 2 year limitation period applies in these cases. Solicitors often miss important deadlines as the assumption in bringing a personal injury claim is that the claimant has 3 years from the date of the accident.
If you are in any doubt on whether you have a potential claim, please contact one of our solicitors or request a call back to discuss without delay. If your claim involves professional negligence or sexual/physical abuse (please refer to our professional negligence limitation or sexual/physical abuse limitation page for further information).
What is professional negligence?
Financial losses caused by a professional person
Throughout most people's lives we will need to instruct a professional person to undertake a particular task. If that professional person makes an error or mistake, it could have serious financial consequences. The professional person or company may have provided inadequate or incorrect advice resulting in a financial loss, this can be very distressing and you may not have anywhere to turn to seek redress. If you think that you have been let down by a professional, please contact one of our specialist solicitors for a free no obligation assessment of your claim. We are able to provide advice if you have been let down by one of the following professionals:
Other Legal professionals
Financial advisors including banks
Doctors and other medical professionals