Professional Negligence Solicitors

The Professional Negligence Solicitors at Lupton Fawcett are experts in their field.

If you or your business have suffered losses as a result of incorrect or inadequate advice, inexperience, a lack of attention to detail or other unreasonable mistakes by an individual or company that you engaged to deliver a service for you, please get in touch with us to discuss the details of what happened in a free, no obligation initial consultation.

We’ll help you determine if you have the basis for a professional negligence claim and help you through each stage of the process of bringing a claim.

Whether you are a private individual or a company, a failure by a professional to do their job correctly can have significant consequences for your finances, property and personal health.

You may be entitled to claim compensation for the direct financial losses you have suffered as well as for the wider consequences of the negligence.

Alternatively, fill in the enquiry form on this page to send us the initial information we need, so we can then contact you to take things further.

What is professional negligence?

Individuals and businesses often require professional support when it comes to legal, technical or financial matters. Most people rely on the advice of accountants, law firms and insurance companies at some point in their lives, and you may also have cause to rely on the expertise of an IT professional, architect, surveyor or construction company too. In fact, many of the biggest decisions we take in life will be based on the professional advice we receive from those providing their expertise as a service for which they are paid.

Professional negligence occurs when the legal obligation to provide professional services with reasonable standards of care and attention to detail, known as a ‘duty of care’, is not met.

Common professional negligence issues

Cases of professional negligence typically occur when one party has been given poor legal advice, financial advice, or a professional fails to meet the standards required of them.

Issues that could result in a claim include the following:

  • An incorrectly drafted will
  • Bad advice in relation to a mortgage
  • Undervaluation or overvaluation of residential or commercial property
  • Poor investment advice

We have acted for, and against, a range of professionals, including (among others) the following:

  • Accountants
  • Architects
  • Auditors
  • Banks
  • Barristers
  • Engineers
  • Estate Agents
  • Financial Advisors
  • Insurance Brokers
  • Loss Adjusters
  • Solicitors
  • Surveyors

Most professionals will have some level of insurance in place to compensate victims of negligence. We have considerable experience in dealing with insurance companies and determining early on the extent of insurance in place.

Professional negligence affecting a business

Businesses are just as likely to suffer from professional negligence as individuals are.  Businesses of all sizes rely on the services of a number of professionals including lawyers, accountants, auditors, agents and consultants.

If your business has experienced out of pocket expenses, a loss of property value, or a significant administrative burden (e.g. having to apply retrospectively for planning permission) due to mistakes or omissions made by a professional service provider, you may be entitled to make a claim for compensation.

Some common ways professional negligence can impact a business include:

  • Poor tax advice
  • Mistakes in setting up the company structure
  • Badly drafted contracts
  • Poor legal advice
  • Inadequate insurance cover
  • Omissions or mistakes in a building survey
  • Undervaluation or overvaluation of residential or commercial property

Our Professional Negligence Solicitors in York, Sheffield and Leeds can help you to decide whether the financial loss to your business is as a direct result of poor practice by a professional, how you can prove this in court, and how likely you are to be awarded compensation if you pursue your claim.

What is ‘duty of care’ in relation to professional services?

According to the Collins English Dictionary, a duty of care is defined as ‘the legal obligation to safeguard others from harm while they are in your care, using your services, or exposed to your activities’.

On that basis, professionals normally owe a duty of care to their clients. For example, when preparing a tax return an accountant is duty bound to ensure that the client’s financial position is correctly reported to the HMRC and that the client is not exposed to fines or an investigation.

How to prove professional negligence

It is vital in a successful claim for professional negligence to prove that the professional breached their duty of care, and that this breach has caused your loss.

Essentially, a professional must have failed to meet the minimum standard of care expected by law. In the case of professional negligence this is considered against the standards of a “reasonable person” within that profession.

For example, it would be difficult to bring a professional negligence Claim against an accountant for failing to advise you about a very obscure tax rule which could have been of benefit to your unique circumstances, if that rule is so obscure and unusual that another typical accountant is unlikely to have been aware of it either

Causation

You will not be able to make a claim against a professional for negligence unless you can prove that the actions of the professional person in question led directly to a loss. Some losses will be deemed “too remote” to be recoverable. For instance, if the advice you received from a financial adviser was to invest in a business, and that advice proved to be negligent, you would not be able to recover losses you suffered as the result of, for example, a car accident whilst driving to the business premises to review financial accounts.

Loss

If you can prove that there was a breach in the duty of care, and that a loss was caused as a direct result, there is a strong possibility that you have the basis of a professional negligence claim.

As a general rule, damages in a professional negligence claim are calculated with the aim of putting the claimant back into the position they were in before the wrong occurred.

Time limits for professional negligence claims

The time limit for issuing a professional negligence claim is usually within six years of the date on which the negligence occurred.

However, in certain circumstances this can be extended. We recommend you speak to a member of our team to clarify what applies in your specific situation.

Professional negligence compensation

A decade ago, the majority of professional negligence cases were brought against service providers in the legal and financial sectors. However, in recent years as we rely more on professionals in the IT sector for data storage, virus protection and software development there has been an increase in the number of professional negligence cases against IT Professionals, as well as other professionals such as architects and surveyors.

In some cases, you may suffer direct out of pocket expenses that are easy to quantify – for example due to having to pay somebody to fix an architect’s mistake or replace the incorrect materials used.  In other cases, you may experience a loss of value, e.g. due to property subsidence, damp or rot, or an inaccurate valuation.  In both cases, you may be entitled to make a claim for compensation.

It is likely that you will be able to bring a claim against the service provider, if you can demonstrate that:

  1. the professional owed you a duty of care
  2. they failed to discharge that duty properly, and;
  3. you suffered as a result

If so, then in principle it is likely that you will be able to bring a claim against the service provider.

What is professional negligence pre-action protocol?

The Pre-Action Protocol, which came into force in July 2001, is a protocol which encourages both parties in a professional negligence dispute to resolve the issues out of court by the early exchange of information about the nature of the alleged negligence, and the response of the professional against whom the allegation is made.

Except in limited circumstances, the protocol is mandatory and must be completed before court proceedings are started. This means that before escalating a case, alternative methods of dispute resolution, such as mediation, may be used. If the issue cannot be resolved through such methods, then the case will be taken to the courts.

Here at Lupton Fawcett, we have a dedicated team of mediators that will work to resolve your issues out of court in a fair manner.

Please call our expert team of Professional Negligence Solicitors today on 0333 323 5292 to discuss whether you have grounds to make a professional negligence compensation claim, or provide your details using the enquiry form on this page and we’ll contact you.

No-Win/No-Fee* Professional Negligence Claims

Although claims against Professionals for Negligence are becoming increasingly common, the financial implications of litigation are the biggest fear potential claimants have. We believe that everyone is entitled to be compensated for losses they have suffered as a result of the negligent actions of others, whether they have the financial ability to pay for a lawyer to help them or not. That’s why many of the Professional Negligence Claims we handle are done so on a no-win/no-fee basis*.

This means that if we are not successful, we don’t charge you anything. If we are successful, our fees will be paid out of the compensation awarded.

We have successfully conducted Professional Negligence Claims on a no-win/no-fee* basis arising out of many types of cases, so please get in touch to talk about what happened to you so we can offer our expert advice about what to do next.  *The no-win/no-fee aspect will be subject to a detailed risk assessment before acceptance.

Contact us today

To speak to a Professional Negligence Solicitor for legal advice about your specific situation please call 0333 323 5292.

Lupton Fawcett are a leading personal and commercial law firm in Yorkshire with well-established offices of highly experienced solicitors in Leeds, Sheffield and York.

We have spent over one hundred years using our legal skills to help you through difficult, complicated or emotional times.  Within every area of law, we put your interests first.

We provide a personalised service, with sector specialists and extensive resources to ensure we are giving you the best solutions to your problems.

Lupton Fawcett have long been recognised for our expertise in Professional Negligence Claims.

Our Disputes and Civil Litigation Solicitors act regularly for clients across the United Kingdom including Bradford, Birmingham, Hull, Liverpool, London, Manchester and Nottingham.

Our experienced Professional Negligence Solicitors can support your needs wherever you live in England, Wales & Northern Ireland.

Call today or complete the enquiry form and we will get back in touch with you quickly.  We will always respond promptly, and we will be happy to help.

Frequently Asked Questions

Will I receive compensation and how much will I get?

Some cases are more clear-cut than others but we will always help you to understand how likely you are to receive compensation if you decide to pursue a claim for professional negligence.

Where the claim is for specific out of pocket expenses, this can make it easier to predict how much compensation might be awarded. Where the claim is for a loss of value, e.g. due to property damage or an inaccurate valuation, we can work to compile the necessary evidence to support your claim.

Medical negligence claims can be a little different as you may be claiming compensation for lasting injury rather than direct financial costs, but in many cases, it is possible to predict the payout based on past case history and the standard compensation normally paid for each type of injury.

 

How do I prove a duty of care?

If you hired the professional yourself, then often they have an automatic duty of care to you as their client. Sometimes the individual is hired by a third party – for example, when a mortgage lender appoints a surveyor to carry out a valuation. However even in these cases, they are clearly representing your interests as the owner or buyer, and this can usually allow your claim to proceed in court.

How do I prove professional negligence?

There are several ways to prove professional negligence. In some cases, it can be very straightforward, especially if you have incurred direct out of pocket expenses to put right the errors made. Sometimes you may need a second opinion from a highly regarded individual in the same profession or discipline, who can confirm that in their opinion, a duty of care was owed to you that was not delivered in full.

How does an individual professional pay substantial compensation?

It should not matter if a professional is trading as an individual or working for a large organisation – if their negligence has left you facing expenses, they may be liable to pay you back for those costs incurred. In many cases, professionals hold professional indemnity insurance for the purpose of covering compensation claims, which can allow them to cover much larger compensation awards than you might expect an individual to be able to pay.

Who can I make a professional negligence claim against?

The common disciplines you can make a professional negligence claim against are listed above but this is not an exhaustive list, and anyone in a professional service who fails in their duty of care to you could reasonably be asked to pay compensation. If you’re not sure please get in touch and we will help you to decide if you have a strong case.