Have you ever instructed a professional to act on your behalf and that professional fails to provide you with the service you or your business expected, and as a result caused you financial loss? – you may have claim for Professional Negligence.
Here is the first installment of 10 tips when pursuing a claim for Professional Negligence and the lead up to trial (5 more in the next blog!);
- You must clearly establish that the individual in question owed you a ‘Duty of Care’ and that the professional’s conduct fell below the standard of a reasonably competent professional in the same capacity, and that this breach caused you loss?
- Secondly you must establish what it was that directly caused you financial loss i.e. what was the breach that caused the loss? As there is a broad range of things that could be seen as negligent but may not be i.e. incorrect advice may not be negligent advice. You must also bear in mind that should you have a claim you will be expected to be seen to have taken reasonable steps in mitigating your losses, and any contributory negligence on behalf of a claimant may reduce any compensatory damages.
- Before seeking any legal advice, it is important to collate all information you may have to assist your solicitor. For example; any correspondence, emails, any recorded information provided by the professional in question, as it will be easier to determine the source of any negligence and whether this chain of advice can establish a plausible claim. In some cases you may be entitled to obtain your case file from the professional, however in the case of a solicitor they may have the right to retain your file until you have paid any outstanding debts owed to the professional.
- Making a complaint before seeking legal advice shows that you have taken steps to make your grievance aware to the professional and is evidence that you are seeking to resolve the matter before obtaining legal advice. However, should you not get an adequate response then it would be sensible to approach the specific regulator governing the professional or an ombudsman service to help handle the matter and facilitate a possible resolution. If this is unsuccessful it is only then should you engage legal advice, in particular a solicitor that specialises in Professional Negligence cases.
- Acting sooner rather than later is important, as there are specific limitation periods that governs a Professional Negligence claims, therefore raising a complaint and seeking legal advice promptly, is essential. The usual time limit in a claim for professional negligence is 6 years from the date the negligence occurred.
We have 5 more tips in tomorrow’s blog!