Before beginning a claim for professional negligence, whether it is against an accountant, architect, solicitor, surveyor, or other specialist, you will have to consider some important questions. Only once you have done this will you be able to proceed with any level of confidence. Below is a guide to help you consider the key questions.
Is it worth the trouble?
Although proving that the professional concerned provided a standard of service below that which would normally be considered reasonably competent, for a claim to succeed you must show that it caused financial loss. Cases of poor service can be dealt with in-house by the appointed complaints officer or, where necessary, by the relevant regulatory body or ombudsman.
Furthermore, claims of a lesser value (under £10,000) are allocated to the small claims track of the county court. Although it is possible to seek advice from a professional negligence lawyer regarding the dispute, there might not be cost-benefit in doing so – furthermore small claims claimants are encouraged to represent themselves.
So, in short, if your claim is worth more than £10,000 and you believe that your professional provided a sub-standard level of service, you should definitely be looking to contact a lawyer with a view to pursuing a claim for professional negligence.
What is the likely duration of negligence litigation?
No two cases are ever alike. However, if a case is uncontested, resolution, provided that the valuation of the case is agreed on both sides, can arrive in only a few months.
In more complex litigated cases much will depend on a thorough assessment of the evidence and on the opinions of the expert witnesses involved.
Whatever the case, it is always best to follow the procedures and time limits laid out in the relevant pre-action protocol.
Do you have to pay?
For the most part, no-win, no-fee funding for professional negligence claims has disappeared with reforms to the legal system. However, options such as After the Event Insurance remain. Furthermore, it is possible to discuss an array of flexible funding arrangements.
Healys LLP, for clarity with your professional negligence dispute
If you are looking to make a claim for professional negligence but would like advice regarding the viability and potential cost-benefit of your taking action, talk to Healys LLP today for more information.