How involved will I be in my claim? We know that bringing a legal claim can be stressful and you can be as involved in your claim as you wish to be. Of course, we will always provide you with real and honest advice throughout your claim and will always act in accordance with your instructions. We understand that some people like as little involvement as possible, and some like to be involved as much as possible. We will be guided by you as to how involved you would like to be in your claim whilst ensuring that you are always kept fully up to date.
How long do I have to bring a claim? Professional negligence claims generally arise from breach of contract and/tort. A claimant has 6 years to bring this kind of claim. This is the primary limitation period. This period begins from the date that the cause of action accrues. If the primary limitation period has expired but you had not realised your professional had been negligent, you have three years from the date that you first knew this or the date that you ought to have known. This is the secondary limitation period. There is however, a 15 year longstop period. You cannot bring a claim after 15 years of the negligence or loss, regardless of whether you knew about the negligence.
How long will my claim take? Every professional negligence claim is different and the timeframe can vary. However, the Professional Negligence Pre-Action Protocol applies to the majority of professional negligence claims. This protocol governs the conduct of the parties in the initial stages of the claim, for example, after we have sent a Letter of Claim to the Defendant, they have 21 days to acknowledge it and then 3 months after that to respond. Keeping this in mind, and the time it takes to investigate the claim, gather any expert evidence and take any other steps that may be required, the initial stages of the claim can take between 6 and 12 months. If the matter proceeds to trial, this can take in excess of 2 years although very few claims reach this stage.
Should I make a complaint? You can make a complaint against the relevant profession regardless of whether you have suffered a loss. Most complaints relate to issues of poor service such as delay, etc. You should send a formal letter of complaint to the professional which explains the problems you have encountered with them. If you have issues with your solicitor and they have not been resolved through the initial complaint process, you are entitled to complain to the Legal Ombudsman, http://www.legalombudsman.org.uk/
If your problems relate to an accountant or financial advisor and your complaint remains unresolved, you can complain to the Financial Services Ombudsman. http://www.financial-ombudsman.org.uk/
Most professionals are regulated by a professional body. In the event that you do have a complaint which has not been resolved by the professional you should conduct some research into any regulatory body to whom you should address your complaint.
What can I claim back from the professional?
The purpose of bringing a professional negligence claim is to put you in the position you would have been had the professional not been negligent. As such, you can claim any loss you have suffered, provided that you would not have suffered it without the professional negligence.
What do I need to show to bring a professional negligence claim? In order to bring a claim for professional negligence, you must satisfy the following elements:
1. Did the professional owe you a duty of care? Where you are an individual relying upon the services of a professional, it is usually clear that you are owed a duty of care. 2. Did the professional breach this duty of care? The service you received must fall below the standard of what would be expected of a reasonably competent professional working in the same field. 3. Did professional’s breach of duty cause you a loss? You must have suffered a loss and this must be a direct result of the professional’s negligence
Who can I bring a professional negligence claim against? A professional negligence claim can be brought against any professional. We have experience with claims against the following types of professionals:
Will I have to travel to see you? Again, this is completely up to you. We have client’s all over the Country and happily travel to them. Alternatively, we can meet you at any of our offices.
Will my claim go to court? Again, every professional negligence claim is different. The Pre-Action Protocol encourages the early settlement of the claim and, in the vast majority of cases, claims are settled before the need for trial.