Where someone claims, through their advertising or qualifications, to have a specialist skill of some sort, we expect them to live up to those claims. We have to be able to trust that solicitors and barristers are competent to do the work they take on and that the outcome of a case is based on the strength of the evidence rather than mistakes made by the lawyers.
If the solicitor or barrister working on your case has made a serious mistake and you have lost money as a result, you might be able to bring a professional negligence claim for compensation.
Below are some examples of the sort of errors personal injury and clinical negligence lawyers can make, which could be regarded as negligent:
- Taking on work beyond their experience and expertise
- Providing incorrect or incomplete advice
- Getting your case struck out by the courts
- Missing limitation dates or other important deadlines
- Not following your instructions properly
- Failing to obtain appropriate expert evidence
- Under-valuing or under-settling a claim
If a solicitor or barrister has failed to carry out his or her work with reasonable care and skill, has acted in a way that no competent professional in their field would consider acceptable, then they will be regarded as having been negligent.
Sometimes lawyers make excusable misjudgements, which can only be criticised with the benefit of hindsight. They provided reasonable and justifiable advice at the time, but events have not turned out as expected. This would not be regarded as negligent.
However many errors are, or should have been, obvious to the lawyer at the time and there would be no good excuse for what was done. If it can be shown that such a mistake led directly to your suffering a financial loss, then you will be able to claim compensation, who will probably have insurance for such claims.
No win no fee
The legal costs involved in a professional negligence case can be very considerable, but Pryers offer no win no fee arrangements, by which claims can be brought without any financial risk to the Claimant.
If expenses are required in the case, such as expert witness reports, these can be supported by an insurance policy that will cover those costs if the case is unsuccessful.
The time limit within which a professional negligence claim can be brought is longer than for a personal injury or clinical negligence claim.
In a professional negligence claim, court proceedings must be started within six years of the negligence or the loss that was caused by the negligence.
However, the rules on this are complex and case-specific so if you believe you might have a valid claim, do not delay. You might find that the time limit started to run, and expired, earlier than you thought.
This six year time limit applies to claims for financial loss only. Any claim in which it is alleged that a physical or psychological injury was sustained are subject to a three year time limit.
Poor service complaints
Of course, some valid complaints about lawyers do not cause financial loss, but still warrant further investigation or action.
In the first instance, you should contact the law firm or barristers’ chambers directly, setting out the basis of your complaint. If they do not resolve your complaint to your satisfaction, you can report the matter to the Legal Ombudsman.
How do I make a professional negligence claim?
It is important that you make the first move and get in touch with the team at Pryers as soon as possible. With strict time limits in place, call us on 01904 556 600, email us at firstname.lastname@example.org or fill in the form opposite and tell us a bit about your case, and we’ll get back to you.
Don’t delay, our experienced team of No Win No Fee solicitors are available to talk to you today.