Whilst there is always a lot more press about what to do if an individual has suffered loss as a result of negligence by a professional, there is also another side to the story. There are architects, surveyors, builders, accountants and solicitors who may one day face a professional negligence claim.
If you are one of these professionals, what can you do?
You may wish to defend the claim because you do not believe that you were negligent, or that the value of the claim has been excessively over stated. Whatever the reason, if you are going to defend the claim then you will need to have a strategy; a specialist team can advise you on the best way forward for your particular circumstances.
As discussed in previous posts, professionals are obliged to have professional indemnity insurance to cover any potential claims which may be against them. Subject to any arguments over cover (which we can also advise on), your insurers will instruct solicitors to deal with any claims.
Going forwards your panel solicitors will then liaise directly with the claimant or its representatives leaving you observing behind the scenes. But what if you do not approve of the approach your panel solicitors are taking? Under the Insurance Companies (Legal Expenses Insurance) Regulations 1990 (‘the Regulations’) you have the choice to instruct your own solicitors. This is supported by the later case of Brown-Quinn v Equity Syndicate Management Ltd (2012), in which it was held that insurers cannot reject the insured’s choice of solicitor.
What this means is that you free to use whichever solicitor you want to. For example, if you are not happy with your panel solicitor, i.e. they are acting slowly, or not being as aggressive as you would want, you can choose to instruct a separate firm of solicitors to act on your behalf.