4 Key Steps to Take Before Pursuing a Professional Negligence Claim

Published 17 Mar 2017

Professional services of one kind or another are the daily engine that keeps much of Australia ticking over, but the quality of providers across different areas of expertise can often vary considerably. While human error is a factor in any profession, there is also, sad to say, a large number of genuine charlatans out there looking to snare the unwary.

If you’ve been the victim of professional negligence, you’ll naturally want to seek adequate compensation to claw back some of the time and money which has gone into a project that has failed through no fault of your own. Actually pursuing a professional negligence claim, however, can be a complex affair, and you’ll need to proceed cautiously and carefully to maximise your chances of success.

To help your case get off to the best possible start, we’ve put together a series of four key steps to follow before committing to pursuing your professional negligence claim. Follow them in sequence and you’ll substantially raise your chances of a successful eventual outcome.

1. Double-check The Time Period Involved

Professional negligence claims typically involve a time window of six years from either the date you engaged the service provider, or the date that damages or losses were actually suffered. Before you go any further, do your best to assess whether your case falls within that window.

2. Dispassionately Review Your Own Actions

In order to pursue a successful case, you’ll need to establish that you were owed a duty of care by the professional in question, that the duty of care was breached, and that you have suffered material damages as a result. These can be complex questions to get to the bottom of, but a good professional negligence lawyer will be able to walk you through them with confidence.

To make initial consultations with your professional negligence lawyer as productive as possible, take some time to both recall and document your own actions in advance. Naturally, this may involve some fully justifiable emotional distress on your behalf, but it’s important you attempt to review the chain of events (and your role in it) with a clear head before talking to a professional.

It’s particularly important that you review and document any steps you took to mitigate potential losses or injuries during the course of your interaction with the professional services provider. Your compensation lawyer will be able to assist you with this in due course, but it also helps to consider it yourself in advance.

3. Gather All Available Evidence

As a natural follow-on to our previous point, secure copies of all relevant documentation relating to the services provided to you in order to make sure you’ve established a clear timeline of events. Your professional negligence lawyer will be able to help you with completing this process down the line (and clarifying aspects of what actually happened when), but taking the time to organise what you personally can at the outset makes the entire process substantially smoother.

4. Make An Initial Assessment Of Damages Suffered And Your Willingness To Proceed

By this stage, you should be thinking with a clearer head and be in a better position to judge whether you really wish to proceed. Again, your professional negligence lawyer will be able to help you substantially clarify the actual extent of damages suffered and your chances of gaining compensation, but it’s important to also have a think about your personal expectations at the outset. A good professional negligence lawyer will then be able to walk you through options and timelines for proceeding in the light of your initial expectations and see if they need to be revised.

At Gerard Malouf & Partners we have all the resources necessary to actively pursue professional negligence cases, and have secured excellent compensation for a string of satisfied clients across all areas of professional services. Get in touch today for a no-obligation, completely free consultation where we can advise you in depth on the details of your case and help you decide whether to proceed further or not.