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Professional Negligence

Professional Negligence Compensation Claims

 

When we turn to a professional for help, we put our trust in them. We trust that they know their area inside out, that they have our best interests at heart, and will reward our trust with the service that we expect.

When that trust turns out to be misplaced, the impact can be devastating, and victims can find themselves suffering. We understand that you will be left feeling angry, stressed and upset if you find that your health, finances or property are unfairly affected after taking bad advice.

At Clifford Johnston & Co, we do not believe that you should bear the consequences of someone else’s error – we want to help you to claim the compensation you may be entitled to. Our team are here for you; we are highly experienced in this area of the law, and if you’re wondering whether you have a claim for professional negligence, talk to one of our professional negligence solicitors. We’ll work with you to determine whether you have a case, and walk you through what happens next.

What is professional negligence?

You had an agreement with a professional, and that person owed you a duty of care. If they failed to meet that duty, causing you some sort of loss as a direct result of their actions, then that is professional negligence.

The law recognises that mistakes can happen – but there is a difference between a mistake and negligence. If it is deemed that the error made was so great that no other professional with the same qualifications would have done the same, then that would be classed as negligence.

Who can I bring a professional negligence case against?

Any professional person who you have paid for their expertise, who then causes you harm could potentially be liable. The list of professionals is extensive, but some examples of negligence include:

Financial advisors:

  • giving negligent advice relating to high risk investments
  • advising customers to invest in inappropriate pension schemes

Surveyors:

  • over or undervaluing properties
  • failing to recognise defects

Solicitors:

  • failing to follow client instructions
  • giving incorrect advice that results in a loss.

Duty of care

Professional people owe you a duty of care when they undertake work for you. This means that there are certain standards that they need to uphold, and they need to take proper care to avoid causing you injury or damage. (Injury may does not necessarily mean a physical injury; it can also mean a financial loss, or other harmful consequence.)

Who can sue for professional negligence?

Generally speaking, it is the victim of the negligence who will be the person to bring a claim. However, in the event that the victim is unable to do so, there are two other groups that can claim:

  • dependents and family of the victim – if the negligence has negative impact on the spouse, children or close family members of the victim, they may be able to bring a claim on behalf of the victim and themselves.
  • the estate of the victim – for example, if the victim ran a business which is now unable to operate as a direct result of the professional negligence incident.

Do I have a claim?

Did you make an agreement with a professional, who owed you a duty of care? Did they fail to meet that duty, and cause you to suffer as a direct result of their actions? If so, then you may have a claim.  We will work with you, gathering evidence to establish whether what has happened to you constitutes professional negligence.

We will need to consider:

  • the nature of your agreement with the professional
  • whether the professional has fallen short of expectation, or breached their duty of care
  • any losses or damage that you have incurred.

Damages or losses that you may have incurred include:

  • damage to or loss of property
  • financial losses due to bad financial advice
  • financial losses due to mishandling of your finances
  • financial losses due to inadequate insurance cover
  • financial losses due to additional costs being incurred
  • medical expenses
  • loss of earnings
  • loss of quality of life.

It will be up to you to prove that the actions of the professional fell below the standard that it would be reasonable to expect from any other reasonably competent professional.
Clifford Johnston and Co recognise that this can be a very stressful and complex process. Reach out to us and let one of our professional negligence specialists advise you. We will establish whether you have the basis of a successful claim and will help you to build your case, if this is the right way to go.

What compensation can I expect?

It can be quite difficult to quantify the amount of compensation you may be awarded; amounts will vary on a case by case basis depending on the type of loss or damage you have suffered. Generally speaking, you should not be left in a worse position than you were before you employed the professional. For more specific advice tailored to your situation, get in touch with us and we’ll assess your case.

Is there a time limit to bring a claim?

There are certain time limits involved when bringing a case of professional negligence. Broadly speaking this is usually six years from the date the event occurred, although there can be slight variations depending on the circumstances. It is always best to seek advice as soon as you can so that you are fully aware of the limits that apply to your case.

Pre-action protocol

As with other legal claims, there are pre-action protocols, or steps which should be followed in order when bringing a case. The aim of these steps is to attempt to resolve the situation with the need to go to court.

The first step in this process is to send a preliminary notice including brief details of the claim and the expected financial value of the claim, if possible. This may need to be followed with a Letter Before Claim, (or a Letter Before Action) if needs be, and a Letter of Claim, all requiring acknowledgement.

Litigation should generally be a last resort; courts encourage resolving disputes without intervention where possible and everything should be done to make this possible. This is best for everyone involved and will save you the added stress of having to go through with a court case at an already difficult time.

It is important to follow the steps of the protocol to the letter to avoid jeopardising your case. We understand that this can be an overwhelming process - if you are in any doubt as to how to proceed or the steps that you need to take, then let us handle this for you. We’re experts in this field and fully understand the process and pitfalls involved.

Building a case

It’s important to take legal advice as soon as possible when considering making a claim for compensation due to professional negligence. The whole procedure can be complex and there are key pieces of information you will need to gather to support your case.

  • As far as possible, you need to document the history of the case. This needs to include the details of your original agreement with the professional, and what it is that they have done to constitute a failure or breach of that agreement.
  • Record any losses that you have incurred.
  • Any other supporting evidence that will help your claim – for example if you have subsequently received professional opinions or appraisals of the initial work or service that you agreed with the professional, these can bolster your case.

Armed with this information, one of our solicitors will build the strongest possible case for you. If you have any queries about the type of evidence you need, or what to include then speak to us today - one of our experts will advise you.

Will I need to attend court?

If, after following all the steps, a resolution has not been reached between yourself and the professional, then there may be no choice but to issue court proceedings. It can often take well over 12 months to reach trial, but when it does then it is likely that you, and any other key witnesses could be called on to attend and give evidence.
Clifford Johnston & Co will be with you every step of the way, offering the full benefit of our experience in a friendly and approachable manner.

Get in touch with the Professional Negligence Solicitors at Clifford Johnston & Co

Call today or complete the enquiry form and we will get back in touch with you quickly. We will always respond promptly, and we will be happy to help.

We build lasting relationships with our clients.  Most of our work comes from existing clients, referrals and recommendations.

Our Professional Negligence Solicitors in Manchester and Stockport act regularly for clients from across the North West and Cheshire including Altrincham, Hale, Alderley Edge, Wilmslow and Knutsford.

As recognised experts in Wills, Probate and Trusts we can support your needs wherever you live in England, Wales & Northern Ireland

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