Professional Negligence

Sometimes you feel severely let down by specialists who have advised you or your business.

The professional adviser’s service may not have reached expectations or the adviser may have been negligent. This inadequate service may have cost you money.

The dispute might be a breach of contract between your adviser and your business where you have clear terms of engagement for the work undertaken for your business. Alternatively, when the written terms are unclear or limited in scope, it may be a breach of duty which your adviser owes to you or your business.

You may feel aggrieved and require an apology from your adviser. That might be something which you could resolve yourself. Where you have suffered a real financial loss and the professional adviser has caused the loss, then you might have a legal case to pursue a claim. We may be able to help you get a problem rectified or to obtain compensation for poor service or for professional negligence.

Disputes with professional advisers can be much the same as disputes for breach of contract such as sale of goods. However, inadequate service may be more difficult to prove than a product defect. Sometimes professionals will defend very fiercely any claims about the quality of their service because it is so important to maintain the reputation of their business for expertise and reliability. On other occasions ethical professionals will readily admit shortcomings and the dispute becomes one about how the problem should be rectified or about the magnitude of any compensation.

Most specialist advisers will have professional indemnity insurance. This means that they have to follow a strict protocol in responding to your claim. We have vast experience in dealing with defendant insurers. We can help prove liability and secure the compensation for your claim which you and your business deserve.

Scope of disputes with professionals

Your dispute with professional advisers could be very wide ranging. For example:

Accountant – negligent advice on claiming corporation tax relief for research and development
Architect – design fault in the specification of an extension to your commercial premises requiring extra steelwork and delaying completion
Barrister – inadequate preparation resulting in poor presentation of your defence at an employment tribunal
Engineer – failure to calculate noise suppression required for new plant resulting in your breach of environmental regulations and plant downtime
Estate/Managing Agent – failure to serve notice to quit resulting in a tenant gaining extended occupancy of your investment property
Financial Adviser – failure to arrange adequate cover on a critical illness policy for key man insurance
Insurance Broker – failure to put cover on risk on time resulting in an uninsured loss for flood damage to stock
Loss Adjuster / Claim Negotiator – failure to prepare adequate claim for consequential loss for a fire at your retail unit
Solicitor – error on drafting of lease resulting in high dilapidation charges on termination of occupancy of office premises
Surveyor – negligent valuation resulting in overpayment for land acquired for commercial premises

Proving negligence and securing compensation

To establish whether there is a case of professional negligence for which compensation can be achieved the following questions should be asked:

  • Does the professional adviser owe a duty to you / your business?
  • Has the duty been breached?
  • Have you suffered a loss as a result of the breach of duty?
  • Have you tried to mitigate or minimise any loss which you have suffered?
  • What remedy or level of damages is appropriate to put you/your business into the same position as it would have been without the negligent breach?
  • Will the remedy be undertaken or your damages & costs be paid?

Many specialist advisers are members of trade associations and/or regulated professions. We can help you explore whether there any remedies which you can follow by reference to the trade body or the regulator.

As with other disputes it may well be best to resolve conflict by negotiation. If that is not possible then alternative dispute resolution should be explored – mediation or arbitration. Normally, only as a last resort, litigation should be considered.

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How we can help

Our experienced dispute resolution team specialise in this field of work. We have helped many clients who have suffered breach of contract or professional negligence.

Our clients always receive a high level of expertise. We offer a practical and commercial approach which is tailored to meet specific needs.

We can discuss with you the most cost effective method of recovering the arrears. If you would like to know more, or just want a confidential chat about your options, contact us today.

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