You or your business may have a claim for compensation arising out of a professional negligence action, if a ‘professional’ (such as a surveyor, solicitor or accountant ) has fallen below the standard of care expected from them. Common examples of where professional negligence can occur is where, a firm of solicitors has failed to issue a claim within the relevant time period, or a surveyor has failed to properly identify a defect in a property or perhaps where an accountant has failed to a value a company properly.
Why or when someone would need this service?
An individual or business would require this service if they had suffered financial loss due to the negligence of their professional advisers. Claims against “professional advisers” would include claims against accountants, financial advisers, surveyors, architects and solicitors or barristers.
At Grant Saw we have a team of solicitors who can provide assistance to you in claiming damages on your behalf as a result of the professional negligence you have suffered. Mr Michael Clary (Partner in the firm’s litigation department) is a member of the Professional Negligence Lawyers Association (PNLA).
How does the process work?
We will need to consider the contractual arrangement between you and your professional adviser. We will also need to establish what it is that your professional adviser failed to do, why the advice or service provided was below acceptable standards and whether you have suffered any financial loss.
The first step required is for the parties to comply with the pre-action protocol for professional negligence cases. Under the protocol a detailed letter of claim should be sent to the professional adviser or their insurers. This letter of claim will then need to be responded to within a set period of time. In the letter of reply, the allegations made against the professional adviser should either be admitted, partly admitted or denied.
If settlement is not achieved by the parties during the course of the pre-action protocol process, court proceedings may need to be commenced.
How long does it take?
Within the timetable set out in the pre-action protocol, the professional adviser or their insurers will need to investigate the claim and to provide their detailed letter of response within a period of three months of their receipt of the letter of claim.
If court proceedings are issued, the usual time period by when a matter will be expected to reach trial is between 12 to 18 months. However in the vast majority of cases claims do settle prior to trial on terms negotiated between the parties.
The time limit for issuing a claim is ordinarily 6 years from the date that the negligence occurred, however in limited situations this time period could be extended if knowledge of the negligence could not reasonably become known during the initial 6 year period. This extension is subject to a longstop period of 15 years from the date of negligence occurring.
Is it expensive?
We will provide you with an estimate of costs at the outset of our instructions.
In appropriate cases we will be able to act for you on a “no win, no fee” basis under a Conditional Fee Agreement.
What are the things that people should consider before calling?
It would be helpful to see any written contract and terms and conditions that exist. We will also need to see all relevant correspondences which have been exchanged between the parties.