When you hire a professional to carry out a specific service, you expect the job to be carried out professionally and reliably. Sometimes, professionals can fail to carry out their work with a reasonable level of skill and care, leaving their clients frustrated and suffering a loss. In such cases you are within your rights to take legal action. Unwelcome consequences such as financial loss can be a direct result of professional negligence; if you believe that you are entitled to compensation, our qualified legal solicitors are here to help.
Here at Van Eaton solicitors in Streatham, we have years of experience in handling professional negligence cases and seeking to rectify the significant damage left. Protecting our clients from further carelessness is our top priority, and we always aim to keep your negligence claim out of court wherever possible, implementing effective alternative dispute resolution. If you need to resolve a dispute with an irresponsible/rogue professional, it is advised that you seek legal advice straight away…
Who Can Commit Professional Negligence?
For everyone within a certain profession, there is a required standard of care, governed by regulatory authorities, that they should observe when providing clients with a service. If this professional makes a mistake or acts in a manner that causes their client to suffer a loss financially, the client could be within their rights to seek damages. Jobs that are classed as being ‘professional’ include, but are not limited to:
lawyers and solicitors
construction workers and engineers
doctors and surgeons
real estate agents
It is important to note that poor service does not always amount to a professional negligence claim. You are within your rights to file a complaint about slow progress or poor communication, but negligence arises from a professional failing to carry out their job to the standard of expertise that they were employed for. For instance, if a surveyor fails to identify a structural problem in your property, you should seek help from a litigation solicitor who can help you analyse and plan your case.
Duty of Care
In most professional negligence cases, a claimant will be seeking damages for a breach of contract as well as a breach of duty. During the early stages of your case, it is recommended that you identify the standard of care that applies to your dispute, which may be stated in your contract with the professional in question or implied by statute. To achieve a successful claim of professional negligence, you must prove that the appropriate duty of care has not been adhered to. For example, when advising a client, a professional needs to explain to the client the risks involved , if any, and also ensure that the client’s safety is paramount.
In addition, you will also need to prove that a breach of duty has taken place, and that the professional acted below the standards of a competent, qualified individual. This means that the professional made an error that no reasonable member of that vocation would make. Furthermore, if the client suffered a financial loss, it must have been caused by the negligent act. If the loss would have occurred regardless, you may not have the appropriate grounds for a claim. The cause of your loss must be easily foreseeable as a direct result of the negligence of the professional.
How to Take Action
Like most litigation matters concerning negligence and retrieving damages, there is a time limit that determines when you can make a claim. The primary limitation period is six years, starting from the date that the incident occurred. In some instances, the client may not realise that they have been the victim of negligence until after the six years are up; therefore, the Limitation Act 1980 (LA 1980) provides a secondary limitation period. This means that the client has three years to act from the date that they discovered the negligence.
As soon as you suspect that professional negligence has taken place, you should seek the help of qualified, experienced civil litigation solicitors immediately. At Van Eaton Solicitors in Streatham, we can help you gather the necessary evidence to help build your case, providing you with the results you need as efficiently and effectively as possible. To find out more about how we can help you, or to book a free consultation, please give us a call on 0208 769 6739. Alternatively, you can fill out our online form here.