We have seen an increased reliance upon professional advice over the last 5 years and as a direct consequence of this, the number of claims being made against such advisors in professional negligence has also rocketed.
In order to bring a successful professional negligence claim there are a number of requirements. These include a duty of care, a breach of such duty of care by the professional/advisor and consequent loss to the other party stemming from such breach. Such claims are commonly brought against solicitors, accountants, financial advisors and surveyors.
In such relationships, there will ordinarily be a general duty of care owed by the adviser to the other party to ensure that the other party does not suffer unreasonable harm or loss. There is not necessarily a requirement for there to be a written agreement or retainer in order for such a duty of care to arise.
If the professional advisor is found to have fallen below the standards reasonably expected of him/her in the requisite industry then it is likely that the professional will be found to have been negligent in the circumstances. The other party will thereafter have to overcome the final hurdles of causation and loss in order to successfully bring a claim against the negligent professional. In this respect, the other party will have to establish that he or she has suffered loss and that such loss was caused by the negligence of the professional. If the other party has suffered loss but such loss is not directly attributable to the actions of the professional then it is more than likely that any claim will fail.
The basic principle in terms of quantification of such losses is to return the other party to the position he or she would have been in had the professional not breached the requisite duty of care. It is however pertinent to note that the other party will be under a duty to seek to mitigate such losses. Hence, if there were something that the other party could reasonably have done to diminish such losses then he or she may be prevented from recovering such additional amounts.
A prospective claimant in professional negligence will also be required to abide by any relevant time limits. In this respect, the relevant time limit in professional negligence actions is 6 years from the date of the negligent action in question. This can however be extended in certain circumstances whereby the negligent act does not become apparent until a later date.
Claims in professional negligence can be extremely complicated in nature. Do not hesitate to contact us today for expert advice from one of our specialist solicitors on the grounds for making or defending a claim in professional negligence.