How Do I Make A Professional Negligence Claim?

At Altion Law, we specialise in Professional Negligence Claims. If you want to know whether or not you can make a Professional Negligence Claim, just contact us for a free enquiry. We will put you through to one of our Professional Negligence Solicitors, during which you can discuss the details of your case.

Once all the information has been gathered, we can advise whether you are in a position to make a claim. If so, we can handle the claim on your behalf, getting the compensation you deserve.

Proving A Professional Negligence Claim

To make a Professional Negligence Claim, there are certain criteria that you must satisfy. Firstly, you need to prove that you have been subject to negligence. To do this, you must show that the following three things have occurred –

  1. You Were Owed A Duty Of Care

Professionals have a duty of care towards their clients. This means that when you use the services of a professional person or organisation, they must perform their responsibilities to a reasonable standard. This applies to all professionals, including architects, builders, surveyors and tradespeople.

  1. This Duty Of Care Was Breached

A ‘reasonable standard’ means that a competent person in the same profession would have taken the same action, or reached the same conclusion. For example, if a surveyor fails to detect defects in a property, it is necessary to ask whether a competent surveyor would have made the same mistake. If not, the surveyor has breached his/her duty of care.

  1. This Breach Caused You To Suffer Damages

Finally, this breach of duty must have caused you to suffer some form of damages. Typically, these are financial losses. As part of this, it is necessary to establish that these losses would not have occurred, were it not for the professional negligence. Therefore, it is not enough for the service to be substandard – it must have caused you harm.

What Does A Professional Negligence Claim Involve?

If you have grounds for a Professional Negligence Claim, the first step is to send a preliminary notice to the professional alleged to be at-fault, known as the ‘defendant’. This notifies the professional that you are considering legal action. Receipt of this letter must be acknowledged within 21 days.

After this, your claim can be investigated in more detail. Once the evidence has been collected, you can send a Letter of Claim to the defendant. This sets out the basis of your claim and the losses you have incurred. Again, the defendant has 21 days to respond with a Letter of Acknowledgement.

The defendant then has three months to investigate the claim and provide a response. The defendant will either accept responsibility or dispute the claim. If liability is admitted, there is usually a Letter of Settlement, too. This proposes the amount the defendant is willing to pay in damages. This is open to negotiation.

If the defendant denies liability, the next step is to begin court proceedings. However, negotiations will continue, in the hope that a settlement can be reached. It is unusual for a professional negligence claim to end up in court. Normally, a settlement is reached in advance of the court hearing.

Can I Make A Professional Negligence Claim?

If you want to make a Professional Negligence Claim, please contact us for advice. We can assess your case and determine whether you are able to prove that –

  1. You Were Owed A Duty Of Care
  2. This Duty Of Care Was Breached
  3. This Breach Of Duty Caused You Damages

If these things can be established, you have been subject to Professional Negligence. Before taking legal action, we will also check that you are within the time limits. Most Professional Negligence Claims must be made within six years of the incident. There are some exceptions to this rule. Sometimes, it is possible to have the time limit extended.

Additionally, we will examine whether the professional alleged to be at-fault has the means to pay your damages. Usually, a professional is covered by Professional Indemnity Insurance. This covers the cost of your compensation settlement. However, if the individual is bankrupt with no insurance coverage, or the company is in receivership, it creates complications.

Occasionally, you will be partly to blame for your damages – perhaps because you did not mitigate your losses, or perhaps because of your actions. This is known as Contributory Negligence. If Contributory Negligence is a factor, you can still make a claim. However, your compensation settlement may be reduced.

 

To make a free enquiry, call us today on 01908 414990, or complete our Free Enquiry Form and request for a confidential, no obligation discussion and let one of our expert team discuss your situation and the options available to you.