While most professionals and their clients will work together to achieve a goal, it’s not uncommon for them to disagree about the means or the outcome. If this dispute escalates and a client considers that the professional has failed to exercise the required standard of care and skill, then they may be entitled to sue the professional for negligence.
Professional negligence disputes can have serious consequences for all those involved. For the client, a professional’s conduct may have caused them to suffer severe financial loss or damage. For the professional, a claim made against them can have serious repercussions on their reputation and professional activities.
Resolving a professional negligence dispute doesn’t necessarily require immediate court action. In many circumstances, negotiation and other forms of dispute resolution may offer the most time-saving and cost-effective solution. Where settlement isn’t possible, litigation provides the means for enforcing or defending your rights and reaching a legally-binding conclusion.
At Lewis Nedas Law, our expert professional negligence solicitors have specialist knowledge and experience in professional negligence claims. We are also expert negotiators and litigators dedicated to getting the best possible result for our clients. If you want to make a professional negligence claim or are a professional threatened with legal action, we can help. Please contact us for more information.
Suing Professionals in Negligence
Many of us rely on professionals for their specialist knowledge and experience. Architects, surveyors, tradesmen, financial advisors, accountants, solicitors – all these professions and more provide us with skills and expertise, which we can expect to be of the required professional standard when we engage their services. But when a professional has failed to perform to that standard, and discharged their responsibilities negligently, the law provides a remedy for those who have suffered loss and damage as a result.
In order for a professional negligence claim to succeed, it must be shown that the professional failed to exercise the required standard of skill and care, either through an act or omission, and that that breach caused you to suffer reasonably foreseeable loss. Alternatively, or additionally, it may be possible to claim breach of contract.
It’s not enough that you received a bad service or that the professional made a mistake – the focus is usually on the standard of their performance. Whether or not the professional exercised the required standard of skill and care is assessed according to the ordinary skilled person of the same discipline. In other words, it depends on how an equivalent professional could reasonably have been expected to act in the particular circumstances. If the professional failed to meet that standard, then a claim backed by strong evidence is likely to be successful.
If you want to raise a professional negligence claim, our specialist solicitors are ready to help. We pride ourselves upon our fast, honest, direct, responses; our availability to our clients; our cost-aware, time-efficient approach; and our highly effective and successful Letters before Action. Please contact Jeffrey Lewis or Ian Coupland for more information.
Defending Against Professional Negligence Allegations
It takes many years to amass and refine the specialist skills and knowledge required to practice a profession, yet even the most reputable and experienced professionals will make mistakes during their careers. When an allegation of professional negligence follows, it can have serious reputational and financial implications. In order to mitigate these potential consequences, it’s vital to thoroughly defend against allegations of professional negligence and limit any professional liability.
In a modern economy, professionals have specialised knowledge and skills in diverse areas, which can easily be misinterpreted by clients. The law recognises this risk and will only hold conduct to be professionally negligent if it falls below the standard expected of an equivalent professional in the particular circumstances. This means that although the client of the professional may not have achieved their desired result, it doesn’t follow that the professional was negligent if they conducted themselves with the required skill and care.
Defending against professional negligence allegations therefore requires detailed scrutiny of the particular facts of the case, the practices of the particular profession and the relationship between the parties. This involves, amongst other things, carrying out a detailed investigation into what could reasonably have been expected of a professional in the same situation, the behaviour of the client alleging negligence and anything that was beyond both the professional’s and client’s control.
If you need to defend against a professional negligence claim, our specialist solicitors are ready to help. We have strong, broad, highly honed negotiation/litigation skills, lengthy experience, commercial acumen, and a successful track record. Please contact Jeffrey Lewis or Ian Coupland for more information.
Professional Negligence Litigation
If a professional negligence claim cannot be settled through alternative dispute resolution, the matter will be determined by the court. Whether a professional negligence claim will proceed in the county courts or High Court, and the length of time litigation will take, depends on the size and complexity of the case. Every claim must go through certain stages and meet procedural requirements and deadlines. This requires a pro-active, strategic approach, both when preparing a case and when arguing in court.
The first stage of a professional negligence claim requires the parties to make a reasonable attempt to settle. If this isn’t possible, proceedings are issued. This next stage requires the claimant to issue a claim form detailing their case, which is then served on the defendant. The defendant must then indicate whether they intend to defend against the claim. If they decide to do so, they must serve their defence and any counterclaim. This stage involves the payment of fees and is subject to strict deadlines. Any failure to meet these requirements is unlikely to attract the sympathy of the court, and can result in the case being struck out or a summary judgment made against the defendant.
Once case management decisions have been made and relevant documents and evidence have been disclosed to the other party, the trial will be held at a predetermined date. This primarily involves oral hearings where each party’s advocate puts forward their client’s case on the basis of evidence and law. Once the trial ends, the judge will make a decision. In some situations, it may be possible to appeal the decision. If the unsuccessful party fails to adhere to the judgment, enforcement measures are available.
If you are involved in a dispute or have been threatened with legal action, you need expert advice. Our specialist personal negligence litigators are ready to guide your claim or defence throughout the entire process.
Lewis Nedas Law – Award-Winning Professional Negligence Solicitors
Our solicitors have decades of experience advising and representing clients across the full spectrum of legal areas. With offices in Camden and Fleet Street, we represent and advise clients in Central London, West London, North London and across the UK. For more information on how our specialist professional negligence lawyers can help you, please contact us.