Negligent professionals and mitigation of loss

31st January 2015 by

Any client who has sustained financial loss as a direct result of a professional’s negligent services could have a right to recover damages. However, in seeking to claim compensation, the client must prove to the courts that he or she took reasonable steps to mitigate the loss claimed for.

If you believe that you have suffered as a result of the negligent actions of a professional, such as a solicitor, accountant, tax advisor or surveyor, and that you have taken reasonable steps to mitigate that loss, contact Healys LLP today. Complete an online enquiry so that we can get back to you with advice and information relevant to your circumstances.

What is mitigation of loss?

When a court assesses your claim for professional negligence, whether it is made in contract or in tort, it will look to consider whether you took reasonable steps to mitigate your losses.

Mitigation of loss concerns your responsibility to ensure that you took reasonable steps to reduce all avoidable losses. For example, in the event that a surveyor’s error led to you buying a house with an underlying problem, you must take reasonable steps to rectify that error before both it and the consequential financial fallout becomes much worse – you cannot allow things to go into freefall simply because you have suffered negligence.

However, if preventing further damage or loss results in you incurring significant and unreasonable financial expense, courts may rule that you were not obliged to mitigate further losses.

Furthermore, claimants who take reasonable steps to mitigate loss and incur costs in doing so are often entitled to claim for both the actual loss and the expense of the steps taken to avoid further damage.

In looking at whether you have taken reasonable steps to mitigate your loss, the court will ask the question of whether your actions were consistent with those of an ordinary and prudent person going about the course of his or her business. This also applies to any costs incurred – for example, if you paid a solicitor an extravagant sum to mitigate the loss caused by the actions of another, the court will allow settlement only for the portion of the fees which are considered to be reasonable [Darbishire v Warran, 1963].

In addition, there are time limits in place which apply to mitigation of loss. For example, claimants should seek to mitigate at the time they become aware of the negligence (and/or its consequences). However, claimants are allowed time to decide on the best course of action, as appropriate.

Healys LLP, for professional negligence

If you have had to endure the negligence of an accountant, architect, lawyer, surveyor or other specialist, the professional negligence solicitors at Healys LLP can help you secure redress for all the financial losses you have incurred.

We have offices in London and Brighton and serve clients from all over the UK. Talk to us today for information about your rights and our flexible funding arrangements.