Recovering Professional Negligence Losses. You may have a professional negligence claim if the professional (i.e. solicitor, barrister, accountant, or surveyor) has breached their duty of care and this has directly resulted in a loss to you. It is, however, not always straightforward to establish whether a breach of duty has resulted in a loss.
You may not be aware of the value of your loss prior to instructing solicitors, and in some cases, it may be difficult to quantify any claim if your losses have not crystalised. This is not to say that a forecast cannot be calculated, however in many cases, it can be more straightforward to wait until your previous claim has concluded so we know exactly for what the professional should be liable.
In practice, your original claim for which you think your solicitors have acted negligently (the underlying claim) must have concluded. An example of this may be that you believe your personal injury solicitor has acted negligently, however, your trial is next week. You may be in a worse position to try and find alternative solicitors at such a later stage. In this scenario, if may be in your interests to continue with the claim and then seek to recover any shortfall in your damages, which would not have been incurred but for the solicitor’s negligence.
What losses can be claimed?
Generally, losses are awarded as financial compensation and will be calculated by comparing what your position would have been if there had been no professional negligence, and your actual position.
The losses claimed can include the following:
- Financial losses. These are losses that you have incurred as a result of the negligent advice or actions of your solicitor or other professional.
- Loss of opportunity. This can include the value of your underlying claim, if the solicitor’s advice or actions have caused you to be unable to proceed with your claim.
However, the level of damages awarded for this head of loss is assessed upon the prospects of success of your underlying claim. If it is assessed that you had 70% prospects of success in the underlying claim, then the damages awarded for loss of opportunity would not be more than 70% of the total claim value.
- Legal fees and expenses of the underlying claim that you have incurred/paid to your previous solicitor can be claimed.
You will also be able to claim a percentage of your reasonable legal costs and expenses of your professional negligence claim if your claim is successful and the award agreed upon or ordered by the Court is over £10,000 (the small claims limit).
You will not be able to claim losses such as:
- Financial losses you would have suffered anyway, despite your professional’s negligent advice or actions.
- The value of any time you have spent preparing/dealing with the underlying claim.
- Loss or expenses that are considered to be unreasonable in that they are excessive or not necessary.
You have a duty to mitigate your losses, which means taking reasonable steps to reduce the loss caused by your solicitor or other professional to a minimum. You cannot recover damages for losses that could have been avoided or have been caused, by any steps you have taken that are considered unreasonable.
How we can help with recovering professional negligence losses
We are able to review your professional’s file, or relevant documents, to establish whether you have an actionable claim and if so, the prospects of success. Depending on the professional that you seek to bring a claim against, before we can make a determination of prospects we may require the input of expert evidence. We will also be able to review what losses have crystalised and what we consider to be claimable in relation to the above potential losses.
We would obtain the file, carry out the review and provide a letter of advice that sets out what next steps need to be taken should we consider that you have suffered a loss due to solicitor negligence.
Depending on the nature of your potential professional negligence claim as well as the complexity of the matter, we are able to assist with the following funding options:
- By way of fixed fees for each stage of the work agreed with you before the work is carried out; or
- In some circumstances, under a ‘no win – no fee’ agreement.
In most cases, we will need to review the relevant documents on file to establish whether we can act for you under a ‘no win – no fee’ agreement. Upon discussion with you and consideration of the complexity of your matter, we would be able to confirm whether we are able to carry out our initial review at no charge.
If you have any concerns regarding how your solicitor has dealt with your matter, please contact our Dispute Resolution department about whether you could have a Professional Negligence Claim.
If you want to discuss your potential professional negligence claim further, then please do not hesitate to get in touch with a member of our disputes team today either by:
- Telephone: 0113 224 7808
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Alternatively, you can add your contact details to the box below and a member of our team will contact you.
For more information please see our FAQ page