3 Key Factors to Consider Before Pursuing a Professional Negligence Claim

Published 18 Aug 2016

Though medical negligence cases tend to grab the headlines, the same principles surrounding duty of care apply across a much broader range of professions. Over the years, we’ve successfully represented a huge number of clients in a wide variety of professional negligence claims, and helped them gain suitable compensation with a minimum of fuss and further hassle.

Pursuing a professional negligence claim is not a decision to be taken lightly, however. For starters, there are often complex webs of professional relationships to factor in, and it can be genuinely difficult establishing precisely where a duty of care was owed. As with any other potential legal proceedings, there is also a need for clear heads throughout in order to get the actual facts of the matter straight before taking further action.

In this piece, we’ll step through three key factors claimants need to carefully consider before proceeding further.

1. You Have to Establish That There Was a Duty of Care

In order to have a legitimate professional negligence claim, you basically need to be able to prove three things:

  1. That there was a duty of care owed by the service provider.
  2. That the duty of care was clearly breached i.e. that they didn’t do their job “by the book”.
  3. That you have suffered a loss as a result of that breach.

Bear in mind that all of these points must be proved, and that each one is subject to interpretation legally.

Though the position may seem crystal clear from a claimant’s point of view, professional dispassionate, external legal advice is essential. Make sure you’ve gathered together all information relating to the case and consult a compensation lawyer before taking any further steps.

2. Don’t Attribute to Malice What Can Be Explained By Circumstance

Professional negligence cases by no means cover all unfortunate circumstances that can arise between you and a service provider. Accidents do happen, and they’re not always attributable to lack of care or foresight.

Similarly, external forces can cause unwelcome outcomes through no fault of any of the parties involved. An accountant, for example, is not responsible for the wider failure of your business — unless, of course, they have actively contributed to that with misleading advice or professional incompetence. To take a more trivial example, bad or sloppy service is not grounds for a professional negligence case unless there is provable material loss involved as a result of it.

As mentioned in our first point, it’s essential that you get informed legal opinion on the circumstances of your case as soon as possible in order to weigh up whether you really have grounds for proceeding.

3. A Professional Negligence Case Can Compensate But Not Undo

Not every potential case is worth pursuing from the point of view of a claimant. It’s always worth bearing in mind that while a professional negligence case can compensate for damages caused, it cannot, in itself, reverse the outcome that the negligence caused.

You’ll need to carefully weigh up the extent of the damage caused against the time, money, and effort involved in actually pursuing a case. Particularly in the emotionally charged aftermath of the situation itself, this can be genuinely difficult set of decisions to engage with. Again, we urge you to take advantage of free legal advice from one of our no win no fee qualified professional negligence experts to assess the options that are available to you.

If you’re considering taking a professional negligence claim, our expert team are happy to talk you through available options in a free face-to-face consultation or over the phone. You’ll benefit from both the hands-on advice of our compensation specialists themselves, and the wider financial, medical and expert resources we can draw on to successfully pursue your case. Please don’t hesitate to contact us today to discuss next steps.