This is a brief guide to the process of making a claim against a professional – maybe a surveyor, architect, financial adviser, accountant or solicitor etc. "People rely more and more on professional advice and have an increased awareness of their legal rights. Negligence claims can be very complex and it is crucial to seek advice from a specialist lawyer," emphasises Dispute Resolution Partner, Michelle Hayter.
- You must be able to demonstrate that you were owed a duty of care by the professional and that their breach of that duty caused a loss to you
- A professional who advises you wrongly may not be necessarily negligent. It must be shown that the professional did not meet the required standards of competence
- You must demonstrate that you have suffered a loss as a result of negligence. A professional may have been negligent but if this did not cause the loss then there are no grounds for a claim. This is known as causation.
- If your claim is likely to be defended by the professional it’s important to consider the costs of pursuing the claim against the eventual damages you may receive. Claims can be very complex and the legal costs can be high.
- There are time limits within which you can make a claim, usually six years from the date of the negligence with a long stop of fifteen years.
- There is a guide known as the Professional Negligence Pre-Action Protocol which allows for an early exchange of information between the parties with the aim of keeping costs down and to try and settle matters without costly court proceedings
Our Dispute Resolution Team, based in Christchurch, also cover Bournemouth, Poole and the New Forest. For a free initial chat, please call 01202 499255 and Michelle or a member of the team will be happy to discuss any questions that you may have.