Professional Negligence Claims
Throughout our life, it is common to seek the advice of a professional for a number of circumstances. Whether you need legal or medical support, you would expect a high standard of care and support from a qualified professional; this is known as a ‘duty of care’.
If their ‘duty of care’ to you is breached and causes you to suffer damage or losses, such as injuries, time or money, then this is professional negligence. The Law of Professional Negligence states that if you can prove you have experienced this, then you have the right to make a claim for compensation; the amount you receive will depend on the situation and severity of loss.
Some examples of professional negligence could be:
- A solicitor failed to settle your will correctly
- A barrister hasn’t defended you adequately in Court
- A lack of concentration or diligence from a solicitor meant that you didn’t receive the right amount of compensation
- A misdiagnosis and poor advice has led to further medical complications.
There are many types of cases that could happen and each one is different. It is best to get advice on your situation from one of our professionals at Accident Line Direct, so that we can assess your case and determine the severity of the negligence you suffered.
Professional negligence essentially means poor advice in legal terms, and if this caused you to suffer any loss, then you could be on your way to making a successful professional negligence claim.
It is advised that you should follow the Professional Negligence Pre-Action Protocol, rather than taking it straight to Court, which would cost people less money and time.
The immediate step of this protocol is to contact an expert advisor. If you are going to put a claim forward to them, then you should make sure that you would be able to make your case on either of the following:
- That the professional (defendant) did not follow their ‘duty of care’ towards you, or
- That another experienced professional who has the same occupation as them would have acted differently and offered different, better advice.
There are many steps to follow when making a claim with a professional negligence solicitor, but the initial step would be to contact an advisor who can start you off in the right direction.
At Accident Line Direct, we work with professional negligence solicitors who are reliable and experienced in investigating and fighting professional negligence claims.
We work with professional negligence lawyers who operate on a No Win No Fee basis (NWNF), meaning that if your case isn’t won, then you won’t incur any upfront costs or charges.
If, however, the solicitor won your case for you, resulting in you receiving a fair amount of compensation, then you would be charged a ‘success fee’ for their time and effort. This means that you won’t be out of pocket for taking on a NWNF lawyer to fight your case.
Once you have sought professional advice from an advisor, they will put you in touch with a professional negligence lawyer who can assess whether or not your case is pursuable.
It can take a long time for them to investigate your claim, even months, so it is advisable to put your claim forward as soon as possible, to avoid being out of time with regards to the professional negligence limitation period.
The first step would be to receive a statement from you (the claimant) explaining each aspect of the situation that has led to the claim in detail. The professional negligence solicitor will then inspect whether the standard of care you received was unacceptable and analyse the amount of loss you suffered; this is vital in determining the severity of the case and the amount of compensation you could potentially receive.
If, after all this, the solicitor can confirm that your case is strong enough to pursue, then a letter will need to be sent to the defendant (person being accused), known as the Preliminary Notice. More information on the main steps of the protocol can be found here.
Determining the amount of compensation you will receive depends on a number of factors. In many cases, the total received has been thousands, but it is important to note that it completely relies on your circumstances, the value of your damage or loss, and the extent of which the professional was negligent. Our team can help you determine the amount that you could be owed.
According to the professional negligence definition, to strengthen your case, you must be able to prove the following:
- The professional owed you a ‘duty of care’, which they breached.
- This then caused you to suffer a loss (time, money, health).
- The services that the professional provided were below standard, considering that the standards of this profession should be high.
A professional negligence solicitor will be able to help you gather all the required information and evidence.
During the process of correspondence, as laid out by the Professional Negligence Protocol, it may turn out that the defendant wants to dispute your case, meaning that they may find the claimant partly at fault or fully responsible. It is encouraged that these disputes are settled through the correspondence of letters. If, however, the ‘letter of response’ completely denies the claim and does not provide a ‘letter of settlement’, the claimant can subsequently start with proceeding to Court if they wish. The protocol is in place to dissuade people from doing this, but it may be necessary as a last resort.
To strengthen your case, you should be sure to make the claim within the professional negligence limitation period. The general time frame in professional negligence cases is 6 years from the date the negligence took place.
Having said this, there may be the possibility of extending this period, if you realised a lot later that the event took place. In this case, it could be that you have 3 years to make a claim, starting from the ‘date of knowledge’ (the date you initially realised that the professional negligence happened).
The sooner you put the claim forward, the better - the professional could argue that the claim has been made too late.
In some cases, the accused professional could defend themselves by stating that the claimant was, in fact, negligent, which actually contributed to his/her loss or damage; this is known as contributory negligence.
If they could prove this, your compensation amount would be reduced – the extent of this will depend on how much the court thinks you were responsible.
Before making a professional negligence claim, you should leave no stone unturned and make sure you provide honest, correct information. Otherwise, this could affect your claim later down the line.
At Accident Line Direct, we appreciate that the whole process of making professional negligence claims can seem daunting and complicated, so our team of experienced advisors are available to help answer any questions you may have and they can help start your claims process if you feel you have suffered this.
Call us today for free and we will be happy to help guide you in the right direction and provide you with straightforward details.
Posted in: Professional Negligence on Tuesday 20 February 2018
by Grace Hickman