Claims against negligent professionals
A professional who assumes responsibility to perform a service for another is under a duty to perform that service with reasonable skill and care. This is measured against the standard that would be expected from the ordinary skilled person in the relevant field of expertise, and this duty applies regardless of whether there is a written contract in place.
A professional that is considered to have fallen below the standard to be expected of them will be in breach of their duty of care, and the individual or business who has relied upon the service provided may be able to bring a claim against the professional for losses caused.
There is no set legal definition of a ‘’professional’’; however, this will encompass any person who professes (for example by holding out or advertising) to possess a special set of skills such as for example, accountants and other financial advisors, legal advisors, architects, and surveyors.
Damages sought in professional negligence claims are usually intended to ‘’compensate’’ the reliant party by putting them into the same position they would have been in had the professional negligence not occurred. Damages can also be claimed for ‘’loss of chance’’ where the professional negligence has caused the innocent party to lose a gain they would otherwise have obtained. Damages can also be claimed for certain other losses and expenditure incurred as a result of the breach of duty, but much will depend on the individual facts of the case.
Statutory limitation period
It is paramount that any claim for professional negligence is made within the ‘’statutory limitation period’’. This usually starts to run from a time that is six years from the date of the loss occurring. There is an alternative extended limitation period which can otherwise arise in circumstances where the loss at the time of it occurring could not have been ascertainable. This extended time period would start 3 years from when those relevant circumstances arise. However, this is not something that should be relied upon without carefully consideration of the facts. If you miss the statutory limitation period, then subject to certain exemptions, your claim could become ‘’time barred’ which means you would lose your right to bring a claim altogether’.
We can help
Professional negligence claims can be complex and they require careful management. We will take great care to ensure our advice is pragmatic and clear, and as cost effective as possible.
The goal of any professional negligence claim should be to achieve a satisfactory resolution and the appropriate level of compensation.
For help and advice about professional negligence claims please contact our team today at our offices in Lincoln, Newark, Boston, Grantham, and Sleaford.