What is professional negligence and how do you prove it

When an individual or businesses instructs a professional, they expect to be given expert advice or service. But what if the advice or service is sub-standard?

In such cases, you may be able to pursue a claim of professional negligence to recover any losses.

In his first article for the firm, Dispute Resolution Solicitor Anthony Eaton outlines what professional negligence is, the grounds to claim and how it works.

What is professional negligence?

When a professional is instructed, the advice they provide and the service they carry out should meet the standard which is reasonably expected of them.

Professional negligence is where a professional doesn’t meet these standards, and this results in a loss for their client.

For example, if a builder’s firm builds your home poorly, you may have to pay out for repairs. Their negligence caused you financial loss, meaning they were negligent.

Is professional negligence a breach of contract?

When a professional is instructed, they owe the client a professional duty of care whether this is specified in writing or not.

Where a professional is negligent, they may have breached that duty to their client. This might depend on whether their actions, or lack of actions, meet the grounds for professional negligence.

What are the grounds for professional negligence?

In order to establish a claim for professional negligence, you must firstly be able to show that a duty of care arose between you and the professional.
This usually arises when a contract is signed, however, this can also be through verbal or informal correspondence.

Once a duty of care has been established, it must be shown the duty has been breached through negligence.

Proving that negligence led to loss or damage

However, showing a breach has occurred is not enough to bring a claim, in order to do that, it must be shown that the breach directly lead to loss or damage to the client.

A loss is not always financial, it can also be what is known as a “loss of chance”. For example, a solicitor might fail to tell their client how long they have to bring a personal injury claim and as a result, the client loses their opportunity to do so.

What is needed to prove negligence UK?

To prove that a professional was negligent, it is often necessary to obtain evidence from an independent expert in that field.

This way, you can establish the relevant standards and whether the professional has failed to meet these when providing their services.

In the full article, Anthony outlines how much a professional negligence claim costs, how much you can claim for, how long a claim takes, how to start and more. Click here to read it.

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