If you are looking into making a professional negligence claim against your solicitor, there are some factors to consider before you do. Bringing a professional negligence claim can be costly and time consuming so it’s worth checking whether you have a case beforehand.
Duty of care
Your solicitor has a duty of care to look after your best interests. To make a professional negligence claim, you have to be able to prove you were owed this by them, which in most cases is very simple through a contract or other evidence. In certain circumstances simply establishing an existing relationship with you can be enough.
Most professional claims against solicitors concern losses either to an individual or a business. This may include:
• Missing limitation dates
• Under-settling a personal injury claim
• Suing the wrong party
• Errors when drafting a will or contract
• Failure to advise you about planning or building regulations
To qualify for a negligence claim for financial losses you must be able to prove it was down to the solicitor and not market conditions or other circumstances. Examples of this include your original case being thrown out for your solicitor missing the limitation date, errors in negotiations with third parties for compensation, not suing the right company in illness caused by asbestos, a contract or will being invalid when you need to take action with it, and vital facts being missed when dealing with the planning process.
You also need to show the solicitor’s negligence has caused you loss which is not always as easy as you think. What this means is that in some cases, you may have ended up in the same position financially whether the solicitor had been negligent or not. It is up to you to prove the solicitor is directly responsible for your loss.
Taking legal action
If you’re ready to take the next step, be prepared to invest a lot of time into the proceedings as going to court can be a slow process. You must seek legal advice so you know the amount of time and investment you can expect to spend on the case, and discuss your circumstances in detail to establish if you have a genuine claim. If you haven’t, don’t pursue it.
Many professional negligence cases against solicitors are often settled early, sometimes before they even reach court. This is done to save time and money for both parties. However, according to the Times newspaper, negligence cases against solicitors are on the rise with an increase of almost 300% in 2014. One of the reasons for this, claims the Times report, is the industry regulator – the SRA – encouraging people to pursue claims against their solicitor.
If you think you may have been the victim of professional negligence at the hands of your solicitor, please get in touch with us here. Acting while your memories of the case are fresh is always best but even if your case was a while ago, we can still investigate for you.