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Bridge McFarland can offer you practical, uncomplicated advice, support & guidance when you need it most. Whether it be an employment dispute, family advice, an accident or negligence, life planning or moving house, let us help you.
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Our commercial team in Lincoln, Hull, Market Rasen and Grimsby prides itself on its sound business sense, commercial insight, local knowledge and first class understanding of the relevant legal disciplines ranging from employment law, business contracts, dispute resolution to agriculture and property development. From company formation to sale, succession, dissolution or dispute resolution, you can trust our team to deliver first class service and results.
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Frequently Asked Questions

Looking for some answers? Check out our helpful FAQs section.

Frequently Asked Questions
Home > Why BMcF? > Frequently Asked Questions > Professional Negligence
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Professional Negligence

 

If you have received negligent advice or service from a professional, you may have the right to claim for compensation.

 

Professional Negligence
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 prmary 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.

How will my claim be funded?
We would need to carry our a full risk assessment of your claim before we can advise you about funding. Below are some of the options:

"No Win, No Fee"

If we believe that your claim has reasonable prospects of success we can offer to work on a “No Win, No Fee” basis - also known as a Conditional Fee Agreement. If we are not successful in recovering damages on your claim, we do not get paid for the work that we have done.

Because of this risk, we are entitled to charge a Success Fee, or uplift, on our fees If we recover damages for you. The success fee will be deducted from your damages.

There will be other costs incurred as your claim progresses. Examples are, Court Fees, Expert fees and Barristers fees, these are known as disbursements.

We can usually obtain an insurance policy on your behalf to cover your liability for your opponent's costs should your claim fail. 

Before the Event Insurances

Some insurance policies include cover for Legal Expenses; the insurance provider will be liable to pay some or all of your costs in the claim. It is important that you check whether are hold a policy which offers this cover, the provider will only offer to cover your legal expenses if they have agreed to do so at the start of your claim.

Private Paying Clients

It is, of course, possible for you to pay our fees privately. If you were to instruct us on this basis, we would provide you with a breakdown of our charge out rates.  

I have settled my claim but I am aware of other claims being settled for more than I have received?
If you have settled your claim but are aware of other similar claims settling for more than you have received this may be a good indication that your claim has been negligently under settled. Not all claims are the same and there may be a reason for the difference in settlement, this is something that we are able to investigate on your behalf. Don’t worry if your claim has concluded, please get in touch we may be able to assist and recover your correct entitlement from your previous solicitors.
My claim has settled but I’m not happy with the amount of compensation I received?
If your matter has settled for less than you had expected, we may be able to help. Not every low settlement is a negligent under settlement, but if there is a significant difference between what you received in damages and what you ought to have received then there may have been negligence on the part of your solicitor. In most cases it is not possible to return to the initial claim, but you could potentially recover the difference between the amount you received and the amount you could have received had your matter been correctly handled. This would be by way of professional negligence compensation from your original solicitors for any act of negligence on their part in regards to the settlement.
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.
What should I do next?
If you think you have a professional negligence claim you should contact our Professional Negligence department.

You can do this by calling any of our offices, emailing Natalie McAulifee  or by making a general enquiry on this or any of our specialist professional negligence websites:-

www.professionalnegligenceclaims.co.uk; or http://www.solicitornegligence.co.uk/

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:
  • Solicitors
  • Barristers
  • Conveyancers
  • Surveyors
  • Will writers
  • Architects
  • Builders
  • Accountants
  • Financial Advisors
  • Insurance Brokers
  • Insurance Companies
  • Local Education Authorities
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.