Professional negligence and the reasonable person test

30th January 2015 by

Have you incurred financial loss as a result of the unreasonable or negligent services of a professional such as a solicitor, architect, builder or accountant? If so, you may be entitled to compensation for your loss and inconvenience. Talk to the professional negligence partners at Healys LLP today for more information about your legal rights.

The reasonable person test

In a professional negligence case a court may determine whether the defendant’s actions constitute negligence by application of the “reasonable person” (previously “reasonable man”) test.

This is a common law idea, which asks the question of how a reasonable person would have behaved in circumstances similar to those in which the defendant was presented with at the time of the alleged negligence.

In order to qualify this judgement, the court will seek the opinion of experts. The body of opinion presented by these experts – who will work in the same profession as the defendant – comes to form the basis of how a “reasonable person” would have been expected to act.

Next will come the question of whether defendant behaved as a reasonable person would be expected to – if not he or she can be said to have breached his or her duty to the claimant.

In simple terms, it can be said to be trial by peers or trial by one’s own community – a concept which has common law origins in both criminal and civil law dating back to the 19th century and the Belgian sociologist Adolphe Quetelet’s idea of the l’homme moyen.

However, this test is not the only consideration inherent in such cases – all relevant circumstances, such as negotiations, contracts and waivers must also be considered.

Professional negligence lawyers in London and Brighton

At Healys LLP we have vast experience and expertise in securing favourable outcomes in professional negligence claims.

If you have instructed a professional person or company to provide you with a service and this service, for reasons under their control, fell below the levels reasonably expected and caused you immediate or potential financial loss we can help you consider your rights.

Our Brighton and London-based partners can help you take your next steps with clarity and conviction. Contact us today.