If you engage a professional to provide you services, you can expect that the services will be of a certain quality standard. If the services you receive are below this standard and you are damaged in any way as a result, it is called professional negligence and you are entitled to bring litigation against this person or company.
In English law, professional negligence is a subset of the general rules on negligence that cover the situation in which a person has represented him or herself as having more than average skills and abilities i.e. a professional. Professional negligence occurs when a professional fails to carry out his or her duties to the required standard of care for a client.
Who is Liable for Professional Negligence?
A professional negligence claim may be brought against any professional, including: lawyers, surveyors, doctors, builders, engineers, architects, financial advisors, insurance brokers, architects, accountants, IT professionals, professional trustees and others who provide specified professional services.
How is Professional Negligence Determined?
There is a specialised set of rules encompassing how a professional should behave in the course of providing professional services. These rules determine the standards against which to legally measure the quality of the services actually delivered by those who claim to be professionals. A claim of professional negligence must fit under one or more of four categories.
- Breach of a contract;
- Breach of a duty of care owed in the tort of negligence;
- Breach of a fiduciary duty;
- Breach of a statutory duty.
To prove professional negligence you must be able to show:
Duty of care
A professional owing you a certain duty of care is usually obvious, but must be proven. Usually the fact that the person purported to be and you engaged the individual as a professional is enough to determine that you were owed a duty of care. In these cases there is sometimes no formal contractual arrangement, but the professional may still be held liable.
You must be able to show that you have suffered a financially quantifiable loss caused by the professional’s breach of duty of care.
There are time limitations for bringing a claim for professional negligence that vary for each type of claim, but generally are six years from the date of the negligence. However if the negligence became obvious at a date much after the actual negligence, the time limit may be extended.
What are Your Chances of Winning a Professional Negligence Case?
The outcomes of these cases vary based on a multitude of factors including the strength of the evidence, the type of losses suffered, and the quality of the representation for both sides. Nearly all professionals carry insurance for these types of claims and the insurer will most likely fight you aggressively for compensation. Therefore, if you think you are a victim of professional negligence, you need to contact a no win no fee solicitor specialising in professional negligence disputes.
Professional negligence causes real damages, pain and stress to many each year. Professional negligence cases are extremely common, occurring in nearly every industry. However, even their prevalence, most victims do not know they have the right to demand that a certain level of care be afforded them by a professional. As a result most incidences do not get reported or filed. As a consumer, you have rights, and you should exercise them if you have been harmed by a professional.