Professional negligence

At various stages during our personal and professional lives we will need to rely upon the advice of a professional. Whether you are instructing a solicitor to sell your home, employing an accountant to guide your business or engaging a surveyor or an architect in connection with a new building, you will be relying on their expert advice to help you achieve your objectives.

In some cases, however, the advice you receive may not be of the standard you are entitled to expect and will result is you suffering loss or damage.

If this is the case, you may be able to bring a claim to recover the loss or damage arising from that “negligent” advice through a professional negligence claim.

 

How do you know if you have a professional negligence claim?

Professionals give clients advice throughout their careers. That advice will, inevitably, not always be perfect and a common concern for clients is how to know whether advice they have received is negligent.

Whether someone you have engaged to provide you with advice or assistance has acted negligently is a legal test. What you should consider is whether the outcome achieved is materially different from what you were told or has resulted in your suffering financial or other loss. In this case, you should speak to a specialist professional negligence solicitor.

What types of professional negligence claim can we assist with?

Our specialist professional negligence lawyers have years of experience in helping clients resolve claims against all kinds of professional advisers.

The professional negligence claims we are most commonly instructed to advice upon are:

Like all professionals, solicitors make mistakes. This could be by giving you incorrect advice, failing to advise on the cost and risk of a particular course of action or failing to meet a Court deadline or a limitation date.

If your solicitor has made a mistake which has resulted in loss or damage, you can bring a solicitors negligence claim.

An accountant’s duties to his or her client will normally include following instructions, giving sound advice, identifying fraud, claiming available tax reliefs, valuing assets correctly and ensuring figures are accurate.

Accountants may also be asked to advise on complex schemes, for example those concerning tax planning, pensions, offshore trusts or film partnership schemes.

If your accountant has given incorrect advice or otherwise breached their duty of care and you have lost money as a result, you could bring a claim against your accountant for negligence.

As accountant negligence claims are complex, if you believe you have a claim against your accountant, it is vital to consult expert solicitors at the outset.

Before investing in a property, you will normally seek the advice of a surveyor or structural engineer.

They owe their clients a duty of care and, if the advice is negligent, for example if it fails to identify problems with the property, provides an inaccurate value, fails to properly reflect the boundary or fails to alert you to environmental or other underlying problems, this can lead to significant losses.

If your surveyor or structural engineer were negligent and you suffered loss or damage as a result, you can claim against them.

Architects not only design buildings, they are also often responsible for supervising the construction phase. It can be very costly when architects make mistakes. Design errors, defective buildings, ignoring legal requirements and using unsuitable materials, can all require expensive remedial work.

Architects owe their clients a duty of care and you can make a claim when their services do not meet the expected standard.

How do I successfully bring a professional negligence claim?

Bringing a professional negligence claim can seem daunting. You will have already suffered loss having placed your faith in a professional and there are many reasons for not wanting to bring a claim. For example, you may have a long standing relationship with the advisor, you want to prioritise limiting the damage from the negligent advice or you may believe pursuing  a claim would be “throwing good money after bad”.

It is important, however, to seek advice at the outset. Not all circumstances where negligent advice has been given will give rise to a valid claim and advice will allow you to understand whether you have a professional negligence claim that it is in your interests to pursue.

Importantly, there are time limits that apply to negligence claims and, where you believe the advice you have received has caused you loss, you should seek the advice of a specialist professional negligence solicitor at the outset so that you can consider these and if there are steps you must take to protect your position.

How much does it cost to bring a professional negligence claim?

People worry about the cost of taking a professional negligence claim to court. However, depending on the facts of each case, the cost of undertaking initial investigations is much more modest. It will only be if the claim has sufficient merit that further costs will normally be incurred.

Furthermore, most professional negligence claims do not reach trial. Instead, most negligence disputes that have merit are settled by agreement or following mediation before court proceedings are commenced.

In many cases, we undertake initial investigations under fixed fees or using “no win, no fee” agreements.

A “no win, no fee” agreement means that you will only pay our fees if we win your claim. This can often be combined with an insurance policy that will pay your opponent’s legal costs in the event that you do not win you claim.

The purpose of these funding options is to allow you to pursue your negligence claim knowing that, if the claim fails, you will be protected.

How can we help you with your professional negligence claim?

Our specialist Professional Negligence lawyers aim to resolve claims as quickly as possible. We are one of the largest and most experienced teams of professional negligence solicitors in the country and we have successfully dealt with all manner of professional negligence claims.

Our professional negligence solicitors belong to the Association of Professional Negligence Lawyers and our team is recognized in the Legal 500 and Chambers and Partners, the leading guides to the legal profession. You will therefore be looked after by an expert, who will guide you through the process step by step.

We understand that, for many of our clients, pursuing a professional negligence claim, will be their first experience of instructing a solicitor. You can rest assured we will handle your dispute with care and sensitivity.

We listen to your instructions carefully and seek to arrange payment terms that suit your circumstances.

Our lawyers are based in Tunbridge Wells , Kent, and London. Whilst many of our clients are from the South East (including Kent, Sussex, Surrey and London), we act for clients based throughout England and Wales and from abroad. We are always willing to meet with our clients at any of our offices or at home or their place of work. We also meet with clients via online communication channels, such as Skype or video conferencing. Wherever our clients are based, we ensure we communicate with them in a way that suits their needs.

 

Contact us for a free no obligation consultation

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  • Acting for clients in relation to a claim valued in the region of £0.5 million against surveyors who had negligently failed to identify fundamental problems with the structural integrity of the client’s property in a survey prior to purchase.
  • Acting in a claim against accountants for negligent advice in relation to the tax consequences of a multi-million pound share buy-back.
  • Acting against a firm of surveyors relating to the negligent valuation of a residential property where the surveyors had failed to identify the correct structure resulting in the over-valuation of the property at the time of the client’s purchase.
  • Acting for a family where the husband (and father) died as a result of the negligence of a well-known hospital. The claim is ongoing with value in excess of £400,000.
  • Acting for a client who had commenced high court proceedings seeking substantial damages from his former solicitor and barrister for allegedly negligent advice given to him to settle a complicated commercial claim.
  • Acting in a claim against solicitors who acting in the administration of an estate had negligently advised the beneficiaries that the deceased’s shares could not be sold until a grant of probate was obtained.
  • Acting against a mortgage lender relating to the repossession sale of the client’s residential property at an undervalue estimated to be in the region of £130,000.
  • Negotiating a settlement of a claim against a firm of solicitors for negligent advice in relation to a conveyancing transaction. The case involved the clients being unable to use part of their accommodation as residential and was rigorously defended on complex causation and planning issues.
  • Acting for a national charity against a nationally recognised firm of surveyors for negligent planning advice and applications over the course of two years in relation to one of the charity’s properties.
  • Acting for a client whose solicitors had failed to identify planning conditions severely restricting the intended business use of the property.  The problem only came to light after significant investment in the business and premises.  A settlement was reached without court proceedings being required.

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