Basics of professional negligence – A professional negligence claim occurs when a professional failed to perform their duties to a required standard, and this failure incurred a loss of money or assets. These types of claims are normally brought against professionals who advised someone incorrectly, and in a way that lead to a loss of finances or assets. But it isn’t quite that simple.
To bring a professional negligence claim against someone, you’ll have to prove three things:
- That the professional who neglected you had a duty to provide you with care of a certain standard i.e. they were clearly employed to do so.
- That you were impacted because of low quality work, and not circumstance i.e. most professionals of similar experience would most likely have done a better job under the exact same circumstances.
- You lost money or assets because of the negligence.
If you can prove all the above, then it’s likely you’ll be successful in bringing a professional negligence claim against someone, although you might want to consider whether the professional responsible has cause to argue that you in any way contributed towards the losses you incurred. This is called ‘contributory negligence’ and can result in a reduction in the amount you can claim.
Is there are time limit?
Yes. You must make a claim within six years of the date of the loss due to negligence. If you learn of the loss after six years has passed, you have three years to bring a claim against a professional.
These time limits are difficult to defend in practice, and so it’s always best to move as quickly as you can. Professional negligence claims can be complicated and take time, so we recommend you seek legal advice as soon as you learn of the loss.
How much will it cost me?
Professional negligence claims can be costly. If you win, the defendant will likely be asked to contribute a high proportion of the costs you incurred bringing the claim against them, but if you lose, it is likely that you’ll be asked to pay the defendants legal costs in their entirety. This can equate to many thousands of pounds.
There are options to insure against this risk, and you should speak to your legal professional about these.
How do I make a claim?
Firstly, we would recommend that you employ a legal professional to handle your professional negligence claim on your behalf. These cases are complicated, and if you lose you’ll likely be asked to pay your defendants legal costs. This can equate to many thousands of pounds. A legal expert will be able to tell you almost right away whether or not it is likely you will win your case, and they’ll handle everything for you.
Once you have decided that you’re going to make a claim, you need to let your professional know in the form of a preliminary notice, which will set out the grievance you have and the value of your claim. The professional should acknowledge the receipt of this notice within 21 days.
Once your claim has been properly investigated, you’ll need to send the professional a Letter of Claim, which will set out all of the facts, including your allegations against the professional, the loss you incurred and how it was caused, and an estimate of the amount you’re seeking in settlement and how it was calculated.
The professional will be expected to respond your Letter of Claim with a Letter of Response. They may also include a Letter of Settlement if they wish to make you an offer. If they don’t then it’s time to consider Alternative Dispute Resolution, which may include mediation from a third party, during which the claimant and the professional will discuss what has happened and try to come to an agreement without litigation. If one cannot be reached, it’s time to take the claim to court.
How long will it take?
All together, a professional negligence claim can take up to two years.
Where do I start?
Because professional negligence claims can be so terribly complicated, we recommend you start by seeking legal advice. Email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 0161 491 3933 and we would be happy to tell you whether we think you have a strong negligence claim against a professional.