Professional Negligence Claims
At Hallmark, we have particular expertise in bringing professional negligence claims.
These are claims in respect of financial loss against those who have professionally advised you (to include Solicitors, Barristers, Financial Advisers, Architects, Surveyors and Accountants, for example).
A case is generally considered to be professional negligence where it involves a professional whose services fail to meet the required standard.
In order to make a claim, a Claimant will need to show that the professional concerned owed them a duty of care and that the professional is in breach of that duty of care. There may also be a claim for breach of contract. The Claimant must then show that any losses that they have sustained are as a result of the breach by the professional. As a Claimant you will need to show that the professional concerned fell below the standard of a “reasonably competent professional”. It is important to note that there is generally a six-year limitation period from the date of the breach (or three years from your knowledge of it should it become apparent at a later point) for the Claimant to bring a claim. If you fail to do so within the required time then your chance to bring a claim may be barred.
Once it is decided to bring a claim, the Pre-Action Protocol for Professional Negligence must be followed. This means that a very lengthy investigation of the background to your case must be undertaken, followed by the drafting of a Letter of Claim, which is in itself a substantial document which aims to encourage a full and frank discussion of the case and an early exchange of information.
Once a potential claim has been investigated and it appears to be worthwhile pursuing, the claimant should not simply issue court proceedings straightaway (unless the relevant limitation period is about to expire). A procedure known as the ‘Professional Negligence Pre- Action Protocol’ should be followed.
The Protocol provides a framework for an early exchange of information with the aim of dealing with matters expeditiously and cost effectively, and is designed to encourage parties to settle a dispute without the need for court proceedings. As a result, the pre-action stage of any professional negligence dispute often means that a lot of work needs to be done before proceedings are even issued.
At Hallmark, we work hard to try and negotiate a settlement in respect of the cases we handle, however, if no settlement offer is forthcoming then it may be the case that the matter may have to be taken to court. It can take a considerable period of time for cases to reach court (often more than a year), although it should be noted that the majority of cases do settle before the matter reaches trial.
Clients should be aware that they are required to mitigate their loss, which means that all reasonable steps should be taken to minimise the amount of loss that you suffer, and that you should not undertake steps that will increase any losses that you sustain.
We are always happy to discuss your professional negligence case on a no-obligation basis and you can contact us on 01482 616 616.