Rarely has the issue of professional negligence enjoyed the level of media exposure as it has in recent years.
The recent recession led to a lot of businesses losing money on certain activities and investments. As a result, there’s been a rise in negligence claims against professional and financial advisers and as businesses look for a way to recover that money.
However, the reality of proving a claim for professional negligence isn’t as straightforward as some may believe.
To succeed in a claim for professional negligence the claimant must prove the following:
- That the professional owed a duty of care to the claimant;
- That the professional breached that duty; and
- That the claimant suffered a loss as a result of the breach of duty
Often professional negligence claims involve parallel claims in both contract and in tort (negligence), where causes of action arise from breaches of the terms of the contractual relationship between the claimant and the professional in addition to breaches of any duty of care which may exist, though usually there is significant overlap.
It is often in the quantification of the losses allegedly suffered, and in the demonstration that those losses are attributable to and caused by the wrongs of the professional, where the substantive dispute rests. It can be extremely difficult to prove the extent of consequential losses and this will often involve the assistance of an accounting expert.
In order to succeed, the claimant will need to show that the services provided have fallen below the standard which a competent professional working in the same field would provide. Once more, this will be an area where expert commentary will be required in order to prove the claimant’s case.
In most professional negligence claims, the claimant will usually have six years from the date of the breach of contract or the date upon which the relevant loss is suffered in which to issue court proceedings.
If you think you may have a claim for professional negligence, you should contact your professional advisers at the earliest opportunity to assess the merits of your potential claim and, should there be a strong case, how that claim can be funded.
For more information on professional negligence, or any other litigation matter, contact Nick Booth or Sean Gibbs on 01772 258321. Nick and Sean both head up the Dispute Resolution team at Harrison Drury solicitors in Preston. The firm also has lawyers in Clitheroe, Garstang, Kendal and Lancaster.