Head of Professional Negligence Robert Johnson highlights key do’s and don’ts when making a professional negligence claim…
Many of us instruct and rely on professionals, such as solicitors, accountants, financial advisers and surveyors, to help us achieve our objectives. We put our trust into these professionals and rely on them to provide sound and correct advice. Sometimes however, things do not go to plan; and professionals can make costly mistakes that can leave the client significantly out of pocket.
In this article, award winning professional negligence specialist Robert Johnson shares insights into the key do’s and don’ts to consider when pursuing a claim against a professional.
Key steps to take when making a professional negligence claim:
- Seek independent advice (the solicitor who has been negligent should have told you to do that at the first inkling of a potential claim) and from an expert in this area of law. To assist on this, go to the directories of Legal 500 and Chambers & Partners which list the most reputable lawyers. I am recommended by both of these directories and have been for many years.
- Retain all documents in relation to your claim and provide these to the independent advisor together with a frank summary of what happened.
- Do not forget the strengths of your claim but focus as much (if not more) on the opponent’s strengths/your claim’s weaknesses.
- Carry out some due diligence to ensure that recovery will not be a problem. Although that will rarely be the case in a professional negligence claim because of the existence of insurance, insurers can go bust (and in which case you probably have a claim against the Financial Services Compensation Scheme) and that may cause a problem.
- Ensure that your decision to pursue the claim is based on good commercial grounds and not emotional ones. Pursuing a claim (especially if by way of legal proceedings) can be an expensive, stressful and time-consuming exercise. Making a claim should not be embarked upon lightly. The emotion a person feels when let down by a professional is often significant, but in my experience does tend to dissipate with time and therefore the claim should not be used to deal with that emotion. The reasoning should be purely commercial; what am I likely to recover; how much will it cost (in money and time) to achieve that; and when am I likely to recover?
Healys Professional Negligence
Healys Professional Negligence has acted against a range of professionals including solicitors, barristers, architects, surveyors, financial advisors and accountants.
Our specialist lawyers have an outstanding reputation for gaining the best possible outcomes for their clients in professional negligence claims. They are recognised by the world’s leading legal review bodies, including Legal 500 and Chambers & Partners.