Professional Negligence Claims
Professional Negligence Solicitors in Cheshire
Professional negligence can have serious consequences. Often, we have seen advice from professionals that surpassed their expertise.
Professional negligence can come from several sectors, including but not limited to:
- Other Legal Professionals
- Medical Professionals
- Insurance brokers
- Financial advisors
If you are able to prove that a professional in the same field would have offered different advice or that the common standards of practice in their field have been ignored, then you could be entitled to make a claim.
Contact our experienced solicitors today to discuss your options.
Speak to a professional negligence solicitor today
Common mistakes by professionals
- Bad advice relating to Employee Benefit Trusts and Pensions
- Incorrectly advising clients resulting in financial loss
- Inaccurate valuation of company assets
- Missed a crucial deadline causing a financial loss
- Provided incorrect tax advice
- Incorrectly advising clients which causes them a loss
- Over or undervalued a property causing financial loss
- Overlooking or poorly advising on defects
- Recommended the incorrect type of property survey
- Providing advice resulting in client losses
- Not following client instructions properly
- Failing to sell or buy a property or drafting a lease badly
- Causing claims to be struck out by the Courts
- Under settling compensation claims
- Making errors in Will drafting or failing to administer an estate as per the wishes of the deceased
- Inadequate advice concerning Advance Payment Notices
- Advising to invest in unsuitable pensions and SIPPS
- Negligent advice relating to unsuitable high-risk investment products and UCIS
Three Keys to a Successful Professional Negligence Claim
1. Establish the duty of care owed by the professional to the client
2. Establish a breach by the professional of the duty of care
3. The professional’s conduct caused loss to the client
Professional Negligence Pre-Action Protocol
The Professional Negligence Pre-Action Protocol encourages the involved parties to consider using alternative dispute resolution (ADR) methods by sharing information early, rather than going through full Court proceedings.
This protocol outlines the framework to be followed, including promoting the exchange of information and a set timetable to which both parties must comply. This encourages early settlement without the need for a costly Court process.
Meet our Professional Negligence Solicitors
If you have a claim against a professional and seek expert legal advice, contact us so we can assess the legal merit of your case. We will discuss the proposed claim with you, and offer advice and guidance on the merits of the professional negligence action.
Professional Negligence FAQs
Professional negligence occurs when a professional falls short of the expected standards in performing duties. This leads to harm, loss, or damage to the client. Establishing negligence alone isn’t enough to bring a claim. The significant aspect is demonstrating that the negligence directly caused a loss, which is usually financial.
There are a number of professional fields within which this negligence can occur. Just a few examples of these are: solicitors, barristers, independent financial advisors, surveyors, builders, engineers, insurance brokers, architects, IT professionals, professional trustees.
One example of professional negligence would be an accountant suggesting a tax scheme that HMRC later challenges, resulting in substantial penalty payments from the client. If the accountant was aware of the client’s low-risk tolerance, but advised this investment anyway, it may be considered negligence.
‘Negligence’ is an umbrella term for all types of claims where a duty of care is owed. This includes areas such as occupier's liability, medical negligence, personal injury, and professional negligence. These are all areas where a professional has the potential to fail to act by the duty of care they owe you.
To establish a claim against a professional for negligence, you will have to prove the following:
- The professional owed you a duty of care
- That duty of care was breached
- The breach of duty caused a loss
- That loss was reasonably foreseeable
For the professional to be considered legally accountable for providing their services with reasonable care, you need to demonstrate a sufficiently close relationship. They are not liable for errors of judgment unless such an error is one that a reasonably well-informed, competent professional would not have made. The duty relates to both acts and omissions. In many cases the duty of care is already acknowledged, for example the recognised obligation of a solicitor to their client.
A breach of duty occurs when the professional has performed below the standard of care that is reasonably expected in those circumstances. It must be noted that a professional not performing at their best doesn’t automatically imply negligence.
A key factor in seeking damages for professional negligence is proving that the professional’s negligence was directly consequential to your losses. You must demonstrate that you depended on their advice, and would have taken a different course of action if you were properly advised.
The Court will thoroughly examine the instructions which were given to the professional, the intended scope of the agreement, and the extent the client genuinely relied on them for any provided advice.
When accounting for the different course of action that the client could have potentially taken, had they not received any negligent advice, the strength of witness testimony from both the client and the professional must be considered. This will be alongside supplementary evidence that supports the claim that the client’s actions were influenced by the advice of the professional.
When initiating a claim for professional negligence, the burden of proving the claim rests with you. You must demonstrate that the professional you’re suing has breached the duty of care they owed to you.
You must be able to show that the four elements of professional negligence have been met. This can be shown by you collecting any relevant documentation. This may include legal documents, and any written contact you have had with the professional. It would be useful to be able to show records that outline the arrangements between you and the professional. You should also make a note of the dates that meetings took place, and document your recollection of what was discussed and advised. You should also show evidence of the loss or damage you have suffered, as well as demonstrating the specific actions or omissions from the professional that caused this.
Yes - solicitors owe a duty of care to their clients and can be pursued in a claim, providing the four elements of professional negligence have been met.
In addition to a potential professional negligence claim, if there exists a written contract between you and the professional, and the professional has not fulfilled specific terms of the contract (whether expressly stated or implied by law), you might have grounds to pursue a claim for damages resulting from the contract breach.
In some circumstances it may be possible to bring both a negligence and/or breach of contract claim against the professional, provided the claim is within the required time limits.
A professional negligence claim becomes time-barred six years from either the breach of contract or the occurrence of actual damage resulting from a negligent act. Courts frequently establish the earliest possible point as the date the time limit starts. Your claim may be time-barred even if you are not immediately aware of the issue, which is why it’s crucial to get in contact with us as soon as possible.
If the problem has recently been discovered, you may have an extra three years to make your claim, although it can be difficult to assess when you had sufficient knowledge. The date when you thought you were clearly aware of your right to claim for the negligent act may actually be after when the Court decides that you should have been aware of the issue.