How do I Make a Professional Negligence Claim?
Here are RDC Solicitors, we often find that potential clients are unsure about the steps involved in making a claim against professionals such as accountants, surveyors, financial advisors, solicitors, and doctors. Luckily, we have years of experience in handling professional negligence claims. So, what is professional negligence and how do you make a professional negligence claim?
What is Professional Negligence?
Professional negligence occurs when a professional fails to meet the expected standards of care and skill, resulting in harm or financial loss to the client. In this article, we’ll guide you through the process of making a professional negligence claim, ensuring you understand your rights and how to find a satisfactory resolution.
Identifying Professional Negligence
The first step in making a professional negligence claim is to identify whether you have a valid case. Professional negligence claims can arise in various fields, but they all share a common thread: a breach of duty owed by the professional to their client. To determine if you have a valid claim, consider the following:
Duty of Care
Establish that the professional owed you a duty of care. For example, solicitors owe their clients a duty to provide competent legal advice, while doctors owe a duty to provide a reasonable standard of medical care.
Breach of Duty
Prove that the professional failed to measure up to the standard set by law. This involves showing that they acted negligently or made errors that caused harm or financial loss.
Demonstrate a direct link between the professional's breach of duty and the harm or loss you suffered. In other words, the negligence must be the primary cause of your problems.
Show that you have suffered quantifiable damages, which can be financial or related to your well-being. These damages should be the result of the professional's negligence.
Once you believe you have a valid professional negligence claim, it's crucial to gather the necessary evidence to support your case. This evidence may include collecting all documents related to your interaction with the professional, such as contracts, emails, letters, invoices, and reports. These can help establish the terms of your agreement and any negligent actions. In many cases, you'll also need an expert's opinion to establish the standard of care and demonstrate that the professional breached it. For instance, you might require an independent expert's assessment of medical records or a surveyor's report.
If there were witnesses to the professional's actions or the consequences of their negligence, their statements can provide valuable corroboration. It’s also important to ensure you keep records of any financial losses you've incurred as a result of the professional's negligence, such as extra costs, lost income, or reduced property value.
Consulting a Solicitor
Navigating a professional negligence claim can be complex, involving legal procedures and deadlines. Therefore, it's advisable to seek the assistance of a solicitor with expertise in this area. A solicitor can assess the strength of your claim and advise you on whether it's worth pursuing legal action, and guide you through the legal process, explaining your rights, responsibilities, and potential outcomes. Your solicitor can also communicate with the professional or their insurer on your behalf, attempting to reach an out-of-court settlement.
Making a professional negligence claim can be a challenging and intricate process, but with the right guidance and legal assistance, you can seek justice when something goes wrong in your professional relationship. If you have been the victim of professional negligence and you would like to know more about what is involved in claiming compensation and recovering losses, please contact us to arrange a confidential and no obligation consultation on Bingley 01274 723858, Ilkley 01943 601173 or Bradford 01274 735511.