What is professional negligence?

If a professional has caused you financial loss due to their mismanagement or mistake when handling your affairs, a professional negligence solicitor can assess whether or not you have a professional negligence claim.

Who can I sue?

Not all professionals owe a duty of care. Below is a list of some of those who can be sued for professional negligence if they perform below the expected standard:

  • Solicitors
  • Surveyors
  • Barristers
  • Engineers
  • Accountants
  • Insurance brokers
  • Architects
  • Financial Advisors

Professional negligence solicitors can specialise in general professional negligence or within a particular professional field. They can also defend a professional who is subject to a professional negligence claim, although they will usually represent the insurance companies who cover professionals in the event of professional negligence.

Making a professional negligence claim

When making a claim for professional negligence a certain procedure must be followed. If the claimant does not follow that procedure then they may not be able to bring their professional negligence claim. Alternatively, they may still be allowed to bring the claim but will suffer cost penalties for not following the correct procedure.

In claims for professional negligence, claimants must follow the pre-action protocol. Pre-action protocols were introduced by Civil Procedure Rules (CPR) 1998. The aims of the protocols are to promote co-operation between parties and to settle cases without going to court.

Before commencing a professional negligence claim, a claimant’s solicitor should send the other party a letter of claim. This letter should set out the factual and legal basis of the claimant’s claim. It should also state what remedies the claimant is seeking.

The pre-action protocol gives guidance on how to draft letters of claims for professional negligence. It states what information must be included in the letter. According to the protocol, the letter should include the following (amongst other things):

  • A chronological summary of the case
  • Allegations against a professional
  • Confirmation of whether an expert has been appointed

As with all negligence cases it is a highly complex area of law and the specialist advice of a solicitor should be sought where possible. This is especially important if your claim concerns a health care professional, in which case you will need a solicitor who specialises particularly in clinical negligence claims.

For more information on the benefits of using a solicitor, see our information page on professional negligence solicitors.

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