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How to Claim for Professional Negligence

How to Claim for Professional Negligence

how to claim for professional negligence

When receiving the services of any professional, you expect to receive the highest level of skill, expertise, and attention to address your needs. Should the professional breach their contract, neglect essential duties, or make errors, you may have the option to pursue a professional negligence claim.

If you believe a professional has been negligent in providing a service to you, you may wish to speak to a professional negligence solicitor for guidance and assistance. These solicitors can evaluate your legal situation and determine if you have sufficient grounds to pursue a successful claim against the negligent professional.

At Annecto Legal, we connect clients with the right professional negligence solicitors and dispute resolution team. Additionally, we can assist in securing litigation funding for your case.

Our services are tailored to ensure that businesses or individuals who have suffered financial losses due to professional negligence have the best possible chance of seeking compensation.

What is considered professional negligence?

Professional negligence, also referred to as malpractice or professional misconduct, arises when a professional fails to adhere to the expected standards of care within their field, resulting in harm or detriment to their client or patient.

This form of negligence is commonly associated with various professionals, including doctors, lawyers, accountants, architects, engineers, insurance brokers, and other licensed practitioners who bear a responsibility of care towards their clients or patients. Claims against professionals are typically directed towards their professional indemnity insurance.

Instances of professional negligence include medical misdiagnoses or errors, legal malpractice, negligent advice, financial mismanagement, fraudulent activities, and flaws in architectural or engineering designs.

Broadly speaking, any professional who neglects to fulfil their duties with reasonable care, skill, and diligence, thereby causing harm to their client or patient, may be held accountable for professional negligence.

Who is eligible to make a professional negligence claim?

In order to be eligible to make a professional negligence claim, you must be able to prove the following:

  • The professional owed you a duty of care
  • The duty of care that was owed was breached
  • The breach of duty resulted in a loss, whether that being financial or otherwise
  • The loss caused was reasonably foreseeable

It is crucial to understand that the ability to pursue a claim may vary depending on the type of professional involved and the specific circumstances of the situation. In England and Wales, the time limit for professional negligence claims is set at six years from the date when the negligence occurred or, if later, the date when the claimant first became aware of the negligence.

Seeking guidance from an expert professional negligence solicitor as soon as possible can assist in assessing your eligibility to file a professional negligence claim and to ensure that the claim is made within the specified limitation period.

How to claim for professional negligence

The steps to make a professional negligence claim typically include the following:

  • Consultation with a solicitor: The first step in making a professional negligence claim is to consult with a solicitor who specialises in this area of law. The solicitor will evaluate the case and advise on the likelihood of success.
  • Letter of claim: If the solicitor determines that there is a potential claim, they will send a letter of claim to the professional who is alleged to have been negligent. This letter sets out the details of the claim, including the allegations of negligence and the amount of compensation being sought. The professional then has a limited amount of time to respond and inform their professional indemnity insurance provider.
  • Evidence: Under the Pre-Action Protocol for professional negligence, parties must identify all issues and ensure adequate evidence has been gathered before proceeding to court.
  • Negotiation: Before a claim can be filed at court, the parties involved in the dispute must exchange information and negotiate in an attempt to reach a settlement without going to court.
  • Issuing a claim: If a settlement cannot be reached using the Pre-Action Protocol, the solicitor can issue a claim at court. The claim form sets out the details of the claim, including the allegations of negligence and the amount of compensation being sought.
  • Defence and counterclaim: The professional has a limited amount of time to file a formal status of defence and may also file a counterclaim if they believe the claimant is at fault. The party may also be refused to make a professional negligence claim if there is insufficient evidence to demonstrate that the negligence occurred.
  • Discovery and witness statements: The parties exchange relevant documents and witness statements in order to prepare for trial.
  • Settlement negotiations: The parties may continue to negotiate a settlement at any point before trial.
  • Court proceedings: If a settlement cannot be reached, the case will go to trial, where the judge will make a decision based on the evidence presented.

Choosing the right solicitor

When considering how to claim for professional negligence, it is also important to note that having the right solicitor is vital for your case.

When making a claim for professional negligence, it is not essential to instruct the most expensive solicitor; however, your typical high street solicitor may not be the best choice either.

You should always choose a solicitor with the right specialism for your case to ensure the best outcome. It is also important to consider how your solicitor will be perceived by an opponent.

In addition to this, you may wish to think about your solicitor’s willingness to work on a risk sharing basis and their experience in working with legal funders and insurers.

Funding a professional negligence claim

If you are pursuing a professional negligence case, legal costs can escalate quickly. Therefore, it is essential that you are aware of the funding options that are available to you.

Funding professional negligence claims can be a complex process and will depend on the individual circumstances of the case. Listed below are some of the options for funding a professional negligence case.

  • Conditional fee agreements – Conditional fee agreements (CFAs), also known as ‘no win, no fee agreements’, are a type of funding arrangement that allows individuals to pursue a claim without paying legal fees upfront. Under a no win, no fee basis, the law firm agrees to take on the case and only charges a fee if the case is successful. If the case is unsuccessful, the client does not have to pay these legal fees. 
  • Contingency fee agreement – Some professional negligence lawyers may offer to take on a professional negligence case on a contingency fee basis, which means that they will only charge a fee if they are successful in securing a financial settlement or damages. The fee payable to the solicitor is usually a percentage of the amount recovered, and if the case is unsuccessful, the law firm will not charge a fee.
  • After the event insurance – After the event (ATE) insurance is a type of insurance that can provide cover for legal costs in the event that a case is unsuccessful. This option can be particularly useful in cases where the outcome is uncertain, and the costs of losing a case could be significant. ATE insurance is often used with conditional fee agreements.
  • Third party litigation funding – In some cases, third party litigation funders may be willing to provide funding for a professional negligence case in exchange for a percentage of any financial settlement or damages awarded. This option can be attractive for individuals who cannot afford to pay for legal fees themselves but have a strong case.

How can Annecto Legal assist?

At Annecto Legal, our professional advisors assist clients in finding the right legal representation for their professional negligence disputes. Our service is designed to ensure that any business or individual who has suffered financially as a result of professional negligence has the best possible opportunity to find redress.

With the right team, it is possible to put in place the appropriate litigation funding and insurance to take the case all the way to court, if necessary. Of course, the preference is always to find a suitable settlement in a reasonable timeframe, but the best way to achieve this is to negotiate from a position of strength. Having the best professional negligence solicitors and being fully funded gives you that strength and forces your opponent to the negotiating table.

If you are looking to start a professional negligence claim or believe a professional has been negligent and want to find out whether you’ve got a claim, then contact Annecto Legal now. We can help find you the right representation, as well as managing your financial risks and sourcing funding for your legal fees.

Unfortunately, because of the high costs of legal actions in the UK, we only assist in disputes in which the financial value of the claim is over £250,000, at the absolute minimum. We would like to be able to help on other claims, but we just don’t have access to any products that can assist on smaller matters.

Get in touch

* Annecto Legal can only assist on case where the loss is in excess of £100,000, with the exception of data breach claims. If you need assistance on a claim worth over £100,000, please get in touch using our form or the details below:

Registered Office

Annecto Legal Ltd, 106 Kennedy Building, Murray Street, Manchester , M4 6HS

Phone

0800 612 6587

Email

info@annectolegal.co.uk

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