Negligence Claims Against Professionals
There will be occasions in your life when you need to engage a professional. A solicitor to buy your house or draft your will, a surveyor to value your house, an accountant to minimize your tax bill or a financial advisor to put you into the best investments.
Sometimes these professionals get things wrong. They carry professional indemnity insurance to protect them and provide a source of compensation when they make a mistake.
We have extensive experience in making claims against all types of professionals and most commonly resolving these disputes out of court.
Negligence matters we can help with
- Incorrect wills or poorly managed estates
- Incorrect financial advice
- Flawed building design or engineering advice from architects and structural engineers
- Missed legal deadlines or errors in documentation by solicitors and other legal professionals
- Missed defects in property and incorrect valuations by surveyors
People we have helped in negligence claims
- Making a claim against a conveyancing solicitor for failing to have identified a number of “defects” in a property such as a ransom strip and a nearby wind farm and by pass resulting in a reduction in value of the house.
- Several claims against tax accountants for incorrect/unsound advice on legitimate tax avoidance schemes.
- Pursuing a surveyor for failing to identify dry rot in a building, reducing its value.
- Making a claim against a financial advisor for incorrectly advising an employee to swap out of a final salary pension scheme.
- Several claims against solicitors for wrongly drafting or executing wills, on behalf of disappointed beneficiaries and executors on behalf of the testators.
How we work with you
Whilst based in the South of England, Paris Smith acts for businesses and families throughout the UK. Technology has enabled us to provide a high level of service to our clients whether they are local to our offices or not. Our advice can be given in many ways:
- Over the telephone
- Via video conferencing
- In face to face meetings
We will talk through how you would like to be contacted and the best ways for us to meet in our early conversations with you.
Frequently asked questions
What is professional negligence?
A supplier of professional services (which could be a solicitor, an accountant, an architect or even a vet) has a duty of care to their client/customer to provide services which are of a standard which it is reasonable to expect a professional of that type to provide. If they fall short of that standard they have breached that duty of care and that is called “negligence”.
Sometimes you may also have a written contract with a professional (often called an engagement letter, retainer or terms of business) and if the professional fails to provide the service with reasonable care and skill, that is a breach of contract. “Professional Negligence” tends to cover both these situations.
How can you prove professional negligence?
There are usually two strands to the evidence required to prove a case. First of all you will need factual evidence about what the professional was instructed to do, what contract (if any) existed, and the way in which it is claimed that the provision of the service fell short of the required standard. Secondly, in most professional negligence cases you will require an expert witness to give an opinion on whether the professional in question fell short of the standard required of them or failed to provide the service with reasonable care and skill. Usually the Expert is from the same profession as the allegedly negligent professional.
What defines an act of negligence by an architect?
An architect can have several roles in their professional life. They might be designing plans or drawings either for the purposes of obtaining planning permission, or for a building contractor to follow when constructing a building. If the plans are faulty which results in planning permission being rejected or results in the building being built in the wrong place, to the wrong height or even in a dangerous state, that is likely to be negligent. Architects also supervise building contracts, and if they failed to attend site when they are supposed to and/or fail to identify defects to the building as it is being constructed, that is also likely to be negligent.
How we’ve helped our clients
“This short note is to acknowledge the high degree of expertise and professionalism exhibited by both Peter Ralls QC and Oliver Brady, solicitor, in resolving for me a dispute which had previously rolled on for a long period of time. It has provided me with a great deal of confidence to know, as I do, that they were both firmly on my side and so my sincere thanks to them both.”
“Very professional and friendly. Open and honest too.”
Marie Freezer – Professional negligence claim
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