Bridge McFarlandLLP

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Bridge McFarland LLP 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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Property Negligence

If you have been let down by a surveyor or architect, our expert professional negligence lawyers can help you to claim compensation for any financial losses.

Home » Personal Law » Professional Negligence » Property Negligence
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We can offer support and advice if you have been let down by a professional.

When buying property or undertaking building and construction works, you will often use and rely upon skilled professionals, including surveyors, architects, builders, structural engineers, quantity surveyors and project managers.

Mistakes by such professionals can have serious consequences and if you have suffered financially you may be able to claim compensation for professional negligence.

In many cases, the professional will have professional indemnity insurance to cover such claims.

Common examples of negligence include:

  • Incorrect valuation, i.e. under or over-valuing property
  • Inadequate survey, inspection or report
  • Failing to identify defects or the extent of defects
  • Not recommending additional investigations
  • Mistakes in preparing plans, designs, drawings, specifications, calculations or bills of quantities
  • Incorrect specifications or materials
  • Insufficient supervision or project management
  • Incorrect advice about planning permission or building regulations
  • Mistakes in or failing to properly manage budgets 
  • Failing to comply with drawings and specifications, planning permission or building regulations
  • Not completing works or defective works
  • Damage to existing or third party property
  • Not following instructions
  • Giving incorrect advice
  • Not acting in your best interests

In many cases, we will act on a No Win No Fee basis (subject to acceptance). Contact us for a free, confidential, no obligation assessment of your claim.

How can I help you?
Rob Ripley

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What is professional negligence?
Professional negligence is where a professional fails to perform his responsibilities to the required standard. This if often where a professional advisor, such as a solicitor, accountant or surveyor, gives incorrect or incomplete advice or fails to act, for instance by missing a deadline.
Who can a claim be brought against?
A claim for professional negligence can brought against any professional advisor but most the most common are claims against solicitors, barristers, conveyancers, surveyors, valuers, architects, builders, accountants, engineers, financial advisors, insurance brokers, will writers and local authorities. In many cases, professional advisors will have professional indemnity insurance to cover such claims, even if they are no longer trading (known as “run off cover”).
Do I have a claim for professional negligence?
Negligence is more than just poor service by a professional advisor. In order for a claim to succeed it is necessary to show that the professional owed a duty of care, that they breached that duty and that this caused a loss. A professional advisor will usually owe their client a duty of care. The standard required of a professional is not one of perfection and the mere fact of an error does not necessarily constitute negligence. A professional will only breach their duty of care by making an error which no reasonable member of their profession, in their circumstances, would have made. Even then, a professional may have acted negligently, but a claim will only succeed if their actions or advice caused financial loss.
What can I do about poor service by a Professional Advisor?
Most professional advisors will have their own complaints procedure or a complaint can be referred to a professional or trade body, such as the Legal Ombudsman for solicitors or barristers, the ICAEW for accountants or the Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) for surveyors.
How is my claim assessed?
We will start by taking your detailed instructions about the case, usually either by meeting with you or by phone. We will also talk to you about funding options and agree how the claim (or at least the first stages of work) will be funded. It will often then be necessary for us to obtain and review any files or other relevant documents held by your professional advisor. It may also be necessary for us to obtain evidence from an expert (such as an accountant, surveyor or a medical expert) to assess the value of your claim. We will then be in a position to advise you on the merits of your claim and to agree a case plan.
Will I have to pay anything/what will it cost?
We will talk to you about costs at the outset and carry out a full risk assessment. In appropriate cases, professional negligence claims can be funded by a Conditional Fee Agreement (CFA) (also known as a “no win, no fee” agreement). What this means is that you do not pay anything to us unless your claim is successful. If your claim is successful, most (but not all) of our costs are usually recoverable from the other side. Any shortfall and our “success fee” (an agreed percentage uplift) are deducted from your damages (up to an agreed cap). You can also take out after-the-event” or “ATE” legal expenses insurance against the risk of having to pay costs to the other side (and your own expenses) if your claim is unsuccessful and disbursement funding for expenses such as court fees and expert’s fees. Other flexible funding options are also available.
How much can I claim?
Damages can be claimed as compensation for any loss resulting from the negligent actions or advice. Damages for professional negligence are intended to put you in the position you would have been but for the negligence. This is found by comparing what your position would have been if there had been no negligence and your actual position. This can include any financial loss (including lost profit or additional costs), a reduction in value of property or other assets and, in some cases, damages for physical or psychological harm.
Will I need to attend court?
Most claims are settled without the need for court proceedings to be issued and, of those that are not, the vast majority are settled before trial. But if a claim cannot be settled and is contested to trial, it is expected that you (as the claimant and a key witness) will attend court and give evidence at trial.
Are there any time limits?
Yes, in most cases a claim must be brought within 6 years from the date of the negligence. However, in cases where the negligence only becomes apparent at a later stage, this may be extended to 3 years from the date of knowledge of the facts which might give rise to the claim. There is a long-stop date of 15 years. After these limitation periods expire any claim will be statute barred and cannot be pursued. It is therefore important to seek legal advice quickly if you think you may have a claim for professional negligence.