In the current climate, it is not uncommon for you or your business to require expert advice from solicitors, accountants, estate agents, surveyors, financial advisors and other industry experts.
Sometimes, the experts we trust unfortunately let us down through poor advice or negligent activity. If this is the case, you may be entitled to make a professional negligence claim against the instructed professional.
Professional Negligence can be a complex area and daunting field. As a result, some people may be unaware of whether they are in a position to make a claim for losses.
If you think you have been let down by a professional and are in the process of exploring whether you can make a professional negligence claim, we advise you to get legal advice from specialist lawyers like Healys’ Professional Negligence team, who are experienced in this field and can assess the strength of your case.
To help you understand the processes involved, here are 10 frequently asked questions regarding professional negligence claims with answers and insights provided by partner and practice head Robert Johnson which we hope will assist you when considering whether to take legal action.
1. What is professional negligence?
When a professional (e.g. a solicitor, barrister, estate agent, surveyor, builder, accountant …) provides a service but fails to perform this to the required standard resulting in a loss.
2. What should I do if I believe I have a claim?
(1) Retain all the documents; (2) seek independent legal advice; (3) question the reasons you wish to pursue a claim and whether this is based on good commercial grounds or emotional ones.
3. Do I have a claim?
Whilst this is dependent on the facts of your claim it must be shown that: (1) the professional owed you a duty of care; (2) they breached this duty; (3) their actions caused your loss; (4) you suffered a loss sufficiently connected to the breach.
4. How long do I have to make my claim?
The general rule is six years from the date of loss. This is called limitation and by the end of this time you must have settled your claim or started court proceedings.
5. What is the first stage of a claim?
We provide you with a letter of advice on the merits of your claim, your likely losses and the estimated costs of pursing a claim.
6. Do I start court proceedings immediately?
You should first engage with the other side to seek to settle the claim without court proceedings. This is initiated by sending a letter of claim to the other side.
7. How can I fund my claim?
There are several funding options but the most common are (1) privately funded; (2) no-win-no-fee; (3) hybrid no-win-no-fee; (4) contingency fee agreement; and (5) damage-based insurance.
8. Do I need expert evidence?
This depends on the circumstances but is often necessary where the exact loss is unknown; for example the difference in value of a property at the time of purchase and once faults (missed by a negligent surveyor) are identified.
9. What is the outcome if I am successful?
A financial settlement. A successful claim cannot directly result in the professional being ‘reprimanded’ in any other way.
10. Do I have to pay my opponent’s legal fees?
If you are unsuccessful you may be ordered to pay the other side’s legal fees. In appropriate cases you can purchase after-the-event insurance to safeguard you against this personally.
If you win your claim you can expect to recover about 70% of your actual costs.
Healys Professional Negligence Services
Healys Professional Negligence team have acted against most professionals, including solicitors, barristers, architects, surveyors, financial advisors and accountants, and have an outstanding reputation for gaining the best possible outcomes in professional negligence cases.
If you think you may have a claim or you would like further information or advice, please contact Robert Johnson directly on 07899 973306 or email Robert.email@example.com.