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Professional Negligence Claims

If you have received poor advice from a qualified professional person, and have lost out financially as a result, you may be entitled to make a claim for professional negligence.


Professionals are legally bound to exercise “reasonable skill and care” in their dealings with clients.  If they fail to do this i.e. their mistake was one that a reasonably competent professional working in the same field would not have made, and if you have suffered loss as a direct result of their mistake, then they are liable to compensate you. 


Professionals usually have compulsory insurance and so recoverability is not an issue, as it is for so many other types of claim. We are experienced in dealing with claims against the following types of professional:


•  Accountants

•  Architects

•  Builders

•  Engineers

•  Financial advisers

•  Solicitors

•  Surveyors


For a professional negligence claim to be successful, you will need to establish three main factors:


  1. The existence of a contractual obligation or a non-contractual ‘duty of care’ on the part of the professional;
  2.  Breach of the obligation/duty – this may involve expert witnesses from the same field of expertise; and
  3. Loss.  The amount may have to be determined by a court.  The loss must be caused by the breach of duty as a matter of fact and not be too ‘remote’ or unforeseeable.  Determining loss is usually the tricky part.


Important things to consider


When dealing with professionals, you should always put things in writing and be clear about what you want. 


Always make sure you know how much you’re paying and what you’re getting for your money. 


Find out how long the work will take. 


Take time to read the professional’s terms of business and make sure that you are happy with them, in particular any attempt to limit liability.


If there’s anything you don’t understand, ask.


Keep a record of all conversations with the professional.


When things go wrong, make sure the professional doesn’t do any more work until you sort everything out.


Don’t feel pressured to accept the professional’s point of view. If in doubt, always seek a second opinion.


When making a claim, it is advisable to use the services of solicitors who have experience of litigation and professional negligence claims.  Solicitors can provide you with essential advice on:


•  The existence of a duty of care

•  The ‘scope’ of that duty

•  Issues of causation

•  Your duty to mitigate your loss

•  The measure of compensation (quantum)


You must follow a certain pre-action protocol when making a claim for professional negligence. If you don’t, you run the risk of incurring cost penalties or your case being thrown out of court completely. By following the right procedure you will demonstrate that you have acted reasonably and that you have tried to avoid issuing court proceedings.



For more information please contact:
Bells Solicitors Limited.   Registered in England and Wales no. 07827988.   Authorised and regulated by the Solicitors Regulation Authority.   SRA number 569030.   VAT registration number 137595285