Professional Negligence – Key advantages in bringing a claim

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In this blog post, award winning Lawyer, Partner & Head of Professional Negligence, Robert Johnson shares insights into the potential advantages in bringing a claim against a solicitor or other professional.

A significant advantage of a professional negligence claim is that the professional will invariably be insured against such a claim.  This means that recoveries (and which is a key risk to be considered when thinking of pursuing a claim) are very rarely a problem in such claims.

You do need to be careful, however, because there will be a limit on the insurance and allegations of fraud may allow the insurer to avoid the policy.

Each profession has its own type of insurance.  For solicitor insurance in particular:

  • It is a requirement that there be a minimum amount of insurance for each claim in each year of £2 million (if a partnership) or £3 million (if an LLP or limited company).  To be clear, this is for each claim (although sometimes claims are aggregated for this purpose).
  • It is extremely difficult for an insurer to avoid a policy and even if there has not been full disclosure when taking out the policy or if fraud forms part of the claim (unless all the partners are involved in the fraud).
  • When a firm notifies its insurer of a claim, the insurer invariably appoints a panel firm of solicitors who are competent in such claims. You may think that this is a disadvantage but it is far more cost-effective to deal with a solicitor on the other side who knows what they are doing.
  • In the event that the insurer goes into liquidation, you will generally be able to claim for the full amount against the Financial Services Compensation Scheme.  For this purpose, you will require judgment or settlement in your claim.  Hence, you may need to continue the pursuit of your claim against the liquidators for this purpose.

More professional negligence claims settle without the need to issue legal proceedings than any other type of claim.  I believe that the reason (at least in part) for this is that (1) there is a panel firm on the other side who knows what they are doing and hence will advise the insurer to settle good claims; (2) insurers (who ultimately pay out on a claim subject to the excess) are practised in the art of risk and if they think that it is going to be less expensive to settle now rather than go to trial they will do the former; and (3) professionals tend not to want their name to be publicised as a defendant in professional negligence proceedings and which tends to happen when legal proceedings are commenced.

Healys Professional Negligence Services

Healys Professional Negligence solicitors have acted against a range of 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.

The team has been recognised and accredited by leading legal review bodies, including Legal 500 and Chambers & Partners.

For more information regarding professional negligence, please contact Robert Johnson at: Alternatively you can call Robert directly on 07899 973306.

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