Published on April 13th, 2013 | by Pete0
How To Claim For Professional Negligence & The Costs
Because most people rely on a pretty much daily basis on all sorts of experts to help them make the right decisions and get jobs done, it is not surprising that from time to time professionals can let us down. After all, they are only human.
As you probably know, claiming for car accidents is pretty common and sometimes questionable. But in the case of professional negligence, the costs are often very real.
What can you do, if you have been let down by a professional?
Making a claim can be scary, and can also be costly, but with a few simple steps you can avoid unnecessary costs or risks. Remember to always seek legal advice before pursuing a claim of course.
How Is A Claim Funded?
Often, a claim can be funded on a no-win no-fee basis, but since these claims can be costly, it is important to understand who pays what.
Typically, if you win, the other side will pay your legal fees and their own. But if you lose you will be responsible for these fees.
No-win no-fee solicitors will offer to represent you and waive their fee in the case of a loss. They will also give you insurance that will cover the other party’s legal costs in case you lose. Typically the solicitor representing you will cover the cost of this policy.
Risk & Reward
As you can see, the risks of a claim can be high. Fortunately for you, the risks are often carried by your legal team, but for this reason, your case will only be taken on if it has a good chance of success.
If your case is more marginal you may have to fund it yourself (which can be very expensive) or alternatively cover the cost of the insurance. If any existing insurance policies give you any legal protection, this may help (car insurance, travel insurance or medical insurance for instance).
Do You Have A Claim?
Whether or not you have a viable claim depends mostly on three factors and if you can satisfy all three, it may be worth pursuing further:
What Was Promised?
If you have a contract agreeing what services the professional was to provide and you can demonstrate that the actual service provided fell short of that, you have the grounds for a claim.
Often, you may not have a contract, or the contract may not cover every detail. In this case, any emails or other written communication you may have could prove vital.
In the case of medical services, often there will be no such contract, since you are obviously relying on medical professionals to advise you on what needs doing. So consider how you can demonstrate that the provided level of care was not as agreed, implicitly or otherwise.
Just because you were given the wrong advice, that doesn’t mean the professional was negligent. You need to be able to prove that the advice or service was below what could reasonably be expected.
Often this will require the input of an unbiased professional!
Keep in mind that some complications can always be expected and no expert can predict the future (unless you plan to sue your medium!).
If the expert has provided a reasonable level of service given the available information at the time, it may be difficult to prove negligence.
If you have satisfied the criteria above, you may well be able to prove negligence, but you will only win a case if you can show that the negligence has led to significant loss on your part.
• If you were given better (but not necessarily perfect) advice
• What would you have done differently?
If it is clear that given a non-negligent level of service you would have:
• Saved money
• Suffered less / no losses
• Profited more
• Avoided some other negative consequence
Then you may well have a claim and be able to take it further with minimal financial risk to yourself…
Thanks for reading. My name is Ricky, I write for Pryers, a firm of solicitors who specialise in negligence for cosmetic surgery and various medical claims. Visit our website to learn more.