What is professional negligence?

by | Oct 23, 2020 | Blog Posts

what is professional negligence

Our professional negligence solicitors have many years’ experience in recovering compensation for people who have been let down by a professional person. But what exactly is professional negligence?

What is professional negligence?

Simply put, “professional negligence” occurs where you hire someone to carry out professional services for you, and that person fails to perform his responsibilities to the required standard.

Who do we mean by a “professional”?

A professional is someone who has particular expertise and skills in the services they provide. It covers all sorts of occupations, from builders, architects or surveyors; to solicitors or barristers, financial advisers or accountants.

Examples of professional negligence

There are many examples of where you might have a claim against a professional. However, a couple of examples might include:

  • A surveyor failing to spot an issue in a property survey meaning that you overpaid for the property;
  • Or an accountant or tax adviser who fails to complete tax returns, resulting in penalty fines.

Do I have a claim against a professional?

There are four elements to a successful professional negligence claim. These are:

  1. The professional involved owed you a duty of care

For example, if you have instructed a solicitor to act on the purchase of your home, they must do so with reasonable skill and care. In many cases, this will be set out in your contract with the professional. We look at duty of care in more detail in our earlier blog post.

  1. That the professional breached the duty of care.

This is known as ‘breach of duty’. This means that the professional person did not reach the requisite standard of care. For example, if you are concerned that your architect made errors in designing your home extension, you would have to prove that a reasonably competent architect would not have done this.

  1. That you suffered a loss.

This loss would usually be financial. It could be an amount of money – e.g. the cost of rebuilding your negligently built extension; or perhaps a reduction in value of an asset – e.g. the difference in value between the actual value of your home, and the inflated price advised by your negligent property surveyor.

  1. That this loss was caused by the breach of duty (‘causation’)

The fact that you suffered a loss is not enough. You must be able to show that the professional’s breach of duty caused the loss. For more information about loss and causation, read this article.

What do I do if I think I have a professional negligence claim?

If you believe that a professional has caused you loss as a result of their negligence, contact our specialist team as soon as possible. We will review the matter and advise you on the merits of your case. From there, you can decide whether to pursue the matter or not.

For a free initial discussion about your professional negligence claim, call us on 0800 988 7756.


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