Professional Negligence solicitors in London and Essex
Professional negligence arises where a professional (e.g. a doctor, solicitor, accountant, surveyor, financial advisor or broker) fails to perform their responsibilities to the required standard, which results in loss to the client. An example of professional negligence would be a doctor’s misdiagnosis of a medical condition.
Generally, to succeed with a claim for professional negligence you will need to prove the following legal limbs:
- You were owed a duty of care by the professional – this will usually (but not always) be a straightforward question.
- The professional breached the duty of care – this test is met by demonstrating that the professional fell below the expected standard of a reasonably competent professional within the area of expertise. Expert evidence from a similar professional is likely to be required.
- The breach of the duty of care caused the loss you suffered – there must be a causal link between the negligence and the loss you suffered, which means that your claim will be unsuccessful if you would have suffered the same loss even if the professional was not negligent.
If you succeed in proving your claim, any award of damages in your favour may be reduced based on factors such as whether you were wholly or partly at fault for the loss suffered, whether the loss you suffered was reasonably foreseeable and whether you did anything to minimise the loss suffered.
You should be aware that, before bringing a claim for professional negligence, you must comply with the court’s pre-action procedure known as the Professional Negligence Pre-Action Protocol. The Protocol is designed to encourage the early exchange of information and the settlement of disputes.
Under the Protocol, a prospective claimant is required to send a Letter Before Claim to the professional setting out the details of the claim, the basis of it and the losses suffered. It is advisable to incorporate the key documents into the Letter Before Claim.
The Protocol also provides for the professional’s obligations and time limits to respond to the Letter Before Claim in the form of a Letter of Response. The professional should acknowledge the Letter Before Claim within 21 days and provide their Letter of Response within three months. The professional may admit or dispute the claim (either in whole or in part).
If a settlement is not possible after following the Protocol procedure, then you will need to consider issuing court proceedings. This will formally commence the court’s process, but you may continue to engage in other forms of settlement techniques while pursuing your case.
If you believe that you have suffered a loss as a result of professional negligence, please contact us to discuss your case and we will advise you on the merits of your potential claim.
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