Professional Negligence Solicitors
It is almost certain that at some point in our lives, we will require professional help to get us by. But sometimes that assistance is not up to the standard you would expect. If you have received negligent advice or services from a professional, we will act on your behalf to efficiently settle your negligence claim as soon as possible.
What is professional negligence?
If you seek the advice of a professional and they make an error, it can have serious financial consequences for you and could be classed as professional negligence.
The law imposes upon professionals a duty of care to their clients. They are expected to deliver a service to a high standard and carry out the job in a careful way. If these standards are not met, the client could have grounds to put forward a professional negligence claim.
The issue of negligence can be argued based on the Supply of Goods and Services Act 1982. This states that there is an implied term in every contract that the professional will carry out the service with “reasonable care and skill”. This means there is no need for a specific clause that explicitly states the expected standard of work – it is simply expected.
To have a valid claim, the professional person or company must have provided inadequate or incorrect advice resulting in you suffering a loss. This can be deeply distressing, especially if you feel you have nowhere to turn to seek redress. It is our role as trusted professional negligence solicitors to determine if you have a case and, if so, how to put forward and win your claim.
How can I get help after professional negligence has affected me?
While compensation may not be able to help repair the damage done, it can go a long way towards helping you recover from the fallout of the professional negligence you have endured. That is why pursuing a professional negligence claim can be beneficial for you or your business.
We understand how difficult it can be to have not received the service you expected. We can provide advice if you think you have encountered professional negligence when receiving services from:
- Other legal professionals
- Financial advisors, including banks
- Insurance brokers
What do I need to know about professional negligence claims against solicitors?
Claims against solicitors for professional negligence are complex. If you believe a solicitor has been negligent or you have been involved in a dispute with a solicitor, contact us to discuss what happened.
When you instruct a solicitor to pursue a claim for professional negligence against a professional person or firm, the last thing you may expect is that the solicitor would go on to be negligent in conducting the initial professional negligence dispute.
The solicitor you trusted to represent you may have made an error and been negligent, resulting in financial harm or loss of chance. The solicitor may be liable to compensate you for those errors and financial losses that may not have occurred but for their negligence in the first instance.
When are professional negligence solicitors negligent?
Missing limitation dates
Limitation is a vital part of any claim. This is the date that you must bring your claim against the defendant and begin court proceedings. The limitation period in professional negligence claims is usually six years.
Limitation dates vary depending on the type of action and it is always important to check the correct date. However, it is important to note that in cases involving professional negligence, the six-year primary limitation period can have different starting points and identifying the correct date can be complex.
If your solicitor has missed the limitation date on your claim and/or the court has refused you permission to bring the claim due to an error made by the solicitor, they will be deemed negligent in the eyes of the law. If you can demonstrate that your case had merit to begin with, you will be entitled to pursue them for your losses through a professional negligence claim.
Failing to comply with a court order or deadline
A failure by your solicitor to comply with a court order or deadline applies to all claims that are litigated (issued at court) and are subject to case management court directions. It may also apply to situations where your solicitor has not acted promptly, resulting in your claim being compromised.
If your claim has been struck out by the court, preventing you from recovering compensation, your solicitor may have been negligent. You would therefore be entitled to recover your damages from your former solicitor by putting together a professional negligence claim.
Failing to identify heads of loss that should have been recovered
When pursuing a claim for professional negligence, the type of loss you could have incurred will depend upon the type of case or transaction that led to the initial claim.
Your solicitor should have established what types of loss you could recover. For example, if you originally pursued a claim relating to an accident, you may have incurred financial losses such as:
- Loss of earnings
- Care and assistance costs
- Rehabilitation treatment charges
- Future losses
- Surgery costs
- Vehicle losses
- Damage to items
If you believe that your solicitor did not recover the correct items of loss or simply failed to advise you that they could be recovered, you could have a case for a professional negligence claim.
Issuing court proceedings against the incorrect defendant
It is commonplace in professional negligence claims that court proceedings are issued. But sometimes things can go wrong, resulting in your claim becoming defective and time-barred.
Investigations should be carried out by your solicitor to ensure they issue court proceedings against the correct defendant. Problems can arise when the defendant is a business and is no longer trading or the defendant is a company but trades under a different name.
If the claim issued at court names the defendant incorrectly, you will not be able to recover damages, as the party would have no interest in the claim. This could mean you become liable for the opponent’s costs or, more seriously, that your claim may no longer be legally enforceable if the proper defendant takes issue with time limits.
Providing incorrect legal advice
Solicitors pride themselves on being highly qualified legal professionals. The general public hire solicitors for many reasons, but the main one is usually that the advice they provide will influence the outcome of a dispute or issue and will almost certainly be reliable.
If you believe your advisor provided a legal opinion you relied on and it resulted in you suffering a financial loss, you may be able to make a professional negligence claim for compensation. This can only happen, however, if that advice was given negligently.
Solicitors also instruct barristers on your behalf. Although you may not have a contract with the barrister, if the barrister’s advice to the solicitor is incorrect and the solicitor relies on that advice, the solicitor may not be able to escape liability.
Whatever the situation, whether they are providing direct advice or they have opted to get some input from a barrister, the solicitor has a duty of care to you to ensure that the advice provided is accurate and correct. If this is not the case, you may be able to make a professional negligence claim.
Failing to instruct an appropriate expert
If your solicitor fails to instruct an expert to prove your claim and/or your claim fails due to insufficient expert evidence, your solicitor may be negligent. For example, if a claim is being brought against a surveyor for failure to investigate a property correctly and your solicitor did not obtain a report from an expert surveyor confirming this, your claim is likely to fail due to insufficient evidence.
Your solicitor’s actions may also be deemed as professional negligence if they do not seek the court’s permission to rely on expert evidence, or if they did seek the court’s permission but were denied due to a mistake made by the solicitor. This normally happens when the solicitor did not seek permission soon enough and there was a delay in making an application to the court.
Failing to properly investigate evidence that has had a fundamental impact on the outcome of a claim
Your solicitor may be professionally negligent if they do not gather all the evidence in support of your case, impacting the claim’s chances of being successful. An example of failing to correctly investigate would be not obtaining witness statements that support your version of events and you losing your claim for damages because of this.
It is worth noting here that professional negligence on the part of the solicitor will not have taken place if the independent witness does not want to cooperate or the witness is not traceable. This is also the case if, even with the witness evidence, your claim was likely to fail.
If you think your professional negligence solicitor has let you down with a negligent act or advice that caused you financial loss, you may have a claim for compensation and other losses. In this case, getting in touch with us as your ‘No Win No Fee’ solicitors can be the best course of action.
How do I make a professional negligence claim?
If you think you have a claim, please contact our specialist professional negligence solicitors.
Our initial consultation is free, and during this time, we will aim to ascertain the likelihood of a successful claim. However, to further proceed with any professional negligence claims, we may need to see the solicitor’s file to determine whether they were negligent and get supporting evidence from an independent subject matter expert (e.g. a forensic accountant) confirming there has been a breach of duty.
There are statutory time limits imposed by law for bringing negligence claims. These limitation periods are contained within the Limitation Act 1980. Following most professional negligence actions, you have six years to file a claim with the court. However, there are exceptions to the rule 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.
Limitation in professional negligence claims 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 do not hesitate to call us. By delaying, you may jeopardise your chance to claim.
How will I pay for my claim?
Should it be determined that your professional negligence claim is eligible, in most cases we will be able to offer a Conditional Fee Agreement, also known as ‘No Win No Fee’.
There are several advantages to this for you. Firstly, it shows we are confident your case has a strong chance of success. Secondly, it protects you financially as you will not pay a thing if your professional negligence claim is unsuccessful. In addition, it provides a clear framework for payment with no hidden charges.
Contact our professional negligence lawyers today
If you would like to know more about our professional negligence services, call us on 0800 234 3234 to speak to a member of our legal team. You can also request a call back at a time that suits you or complete our simple online claims form.