CLINICAL & PROFESSIONAL
NEGLIGENCE EXPERTS
 

Frequently Asked
Questions

What is 'professional negligence?'

Financial losses caused by a professional person

Throughout life, we often need to seek the advice of a professional. But if that professional person makes an error or mistake, it can have serious financial consequences.

The professional person or company may have provided inadequate or incorrect advice resulting in you suffering a loss, and this can be deeply distressing, especially if you feel you have nowhere to turn to seek redress. If 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:

  • Solicitors
  • Barristers
  • Other Legal professionals
  • Engineers
  • Architects
  • Surveyors
  • Accountant’s
  • Financial advisors including banks
  • Insurance brokers
  • Doctors and other medical professionals
  • Builders/contractors

Personal injuries caused by a professional person

It may be the case that a professional has caused you bodily or psychological injury. If this has happened to you, our specialist team of Solicitors will assess your claim free of charge on a no-obligation basis. If we consider you have a strong claim, we will accept your claim on a no-win-no-fee basis.

We can assist if one of the following professional people have injured you:

  • Doctors and surgeons (including plastic Surgeons)
  • Rehabilitation providers
  • Dentists/ hygienist
  • Beauty professionals

We may also be able to assist if your injury was caused by somebody other than those listed. Please contact us for a free no obligation discussion and assessment.

Negligence? Or just a complaint?

It is sometimes difficult to know where to turn if you have been let down by a professional person or company.  And understandably, you may feel extremely frustrated and undervalued because they are not listening to your concerns and needs.

Your experience may lead you to believe that the standard of advice and professionalism you expected has not been realised.

Most, if not all professional people must comply with a strict code of conduct.  They are also 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

If your concern with a professional individual or organisation is about being ignored, or unsatisfactory or inadequate service, but there has been no specific loss, then you may have cause to complain directly to the entity involved.

If you cannot get the problem resolved by that method, you may be entitled to complain to the professional body which regulates the professional.

There may also be an Ombudsman service, such as the Legal Ombudsman or Financial Ombudsman.  These services are government funded and available to any member of the general public who is 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.

If you are unsure how to 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.

Do I have a case?

At Been Let Down, we have been assisting people who have suffered financial losses due to professional negligence for many years, and we are very successful at what we do. Our aims are straightforward; if you decide to appoint us to represent you in pursuing 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 are notified of any issues and developments as they unfold.

In this guide, we outline the main criteria our Solicitors use to determine if you have a strong claim for compensation for professional negligence. We always endeavour to assess the merits of your case when we first speak to you, but on some occasions, we may need to undertake further investigation, including obtaining and reviewing your medical records, and relevant correspondence.

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 questions we need to answer when handling a professional negligence case are:

Did the professional person owe a duty of care?

This is easy to prove in most circumstances. Generally, there will be a verbal or written agreement (terms and conditions of engagement) between you and the professional person/organisation. This contract (agreement) will specify the work you have instructed the professional person to undertake on your behalf. There is an implied duty of care that the professional person will carry out that work with proper skill and diligence.

Did the professional person breach the duty of care owed?

Professional negligence (i.e. in other words, they breached their duty of care) is deemed to have occurred when a professional’s conduct/actions fall below that of a competent professional in the same or similar circumstance. The most common breaches of duty are:

  • Incorrect advice leading to financial loss or ruin;
  • The professional person has gone beyond what they were appointed to do;
  • The professional person has simply not done something that they should have – e.g. 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 by no means exhaustive; please contact us if your situation is not covered by the above breaches;

Did the professionals breach of duty cause you to suffer financial loss or chance?

This is often the most difficult part to establish. In some cases, it may be obvious that the professional’s actions have resulted in you suffering a loss. However, there are occasions where the professional may have let you down, but you would have ended up in the same position even if the negligence of the professional person had not occurred. This is an important consideration when determining the merits of your case.

There may also be more than one professional person involved in your claim. This adds further complexities which all need to be investigated as part of the case.

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.

Costs and Funding

When instructing a Solicitor to represent you, your main concern is likely to be the costs you will incur. All initial enquiries with us are free of charge.

Legal fees are notoriously very costly, and unfortunately, many people who may have a genuine claim can be put off from instructing a Solicitor.

No-Win-No-Fee Arrangement

At Been Let Down, our Solicitors will assess your potential claim when you first speak to us. If we believe your claim has a good chance of success, we will offer to deal with your claim by way of a conditional fee agreement, otherwise known as a ‘no-win-no-fee’ arrangement. The agreement is put in writing and sets out the conditions of engagement between you (as the client) and us (as your 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.

Personal injury time limitations

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 three years from the date of injury or incident to lodge a claim with the 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 the limitation has expired, will only exercise its discretion to allow you to proceed in exceptional circumstances.

Limitation in medical negligence actions is a complex issue and is often a point of discussion and contention between the parties involved in litigation. If you are unsure of the time limit that applies in your case, please don’t hesitate to call us; by delaying, you may jeopardise your chance to claim.

Children (minors) and protected parties

It should be noted that children (minors) and protected parties (including those who lack mental capacity) have six years from their 18th birthday to bring an action for professional negligence.

Concealing negligence and/or date of knowledge

There are circumstances whereby an individual discovers a medical condition causing injury or complication has been caused by a negligent party many years after act occurred.

If such a circumstance arises, you may have three years from either the date of knowledge of the injury/complication or the date it is deemed 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 to a period of two years.

If you are injured on a ship, limitation is also restricted to a period of two years when bringing a claim for personal injury; see the Marine liability Act s23 (1) and the Athens Convention Art 16 for more information.

It is not commonly known that a two year limitation period applies in these cases. Some Solicitors may miss this deadline for bringing a claim due to the mistaken assumption the applicable period is three years.

Unsure?

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.

Professional negligence time limitations

What is time limitation?

There are statutory time limits imposed by law for bringing negligence claims; these limitation periods are contained within the Limitation Act 1980.

In respect of most professional negligence actions (excluding those which involve personal injury), you have six years from the date of the act which caused financial loss, to file a claim with the court.

However, there are expectations to the general rule of thumb of six years, depending on the circumstances of the case.

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 in exceptional circumstances.

Limitation in professional negligence actions is a complex issue and is often a point of discussion and contention between the parties involved in litigation. If you are unsure of the time limit that applies in your case, please don’t hesitate to call us; by delaying, you may jeopardise your chance to claim.

Children (minors) or protected parties

It should be noted that children (minors) and protected parties (including those who lack mental capacity) have six years from their 18th birthday to bring an action for professional negligence.

Concealing negligence and or date of knowledge

If a professional conceals a negligent act from you, or you discover a negligent act weeks, months, or years after it occurred (e.g. a conveyancing error is discovered years after purchasing a property), you may have grounds for the limitation period to be extended; this will depend upon the circumstances, which we are happy to discuss with you.

Unsure?

If you are in any doubt 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 personal injury or sexual/physical abuse, please refer to our personal injury limitation page or sexual/physical abuse limitation page for further information.

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