FAQ & Common Scenarios

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What is professional negligence?

If you were given advice that you later feel to be poor, you may have been a victim of professional negligence. For example, if your lawyer played down the success of your case or actively encouraged you to take a settlement you weren’t happy with, professional negligence may have taken place.

What is the test for professional negligence?

If the conduct fell below the standard of a reasonably competent person in the same field and:

  • They owed you a duty of care: this is usually obvious because you would have employed them for their expertise
  • You suffered a loss: this loss was caused by the breach of the duty owed to you and not other external factors
  • You are within the time limit of 6 years from the time the negligent act occurred

How did my lawyer get it wrong?

There are a number of things your lawyer should have been doing when conducting your claim. This includes collecting witness statements, medical evidence and reports, advising you on your claim and pushing for other forms of compensation apart from general damages which is compensation for your injuries, such as loss of earnings, loss of pension, costs of care, travel expenses etc.
Your lawyer may have also been making you pay legal bills when you were covered by some form of legal insurance such as what can be found on many home, car or credit card insurance policies. Any deductions that could have been made should have by your lawyer. If they failed to do so, this could constitute professional negligence.

My lawyer missed time limits - what can I do?

Your lawyer should have told you that you have 3 years from the time of your accident to make a compensation claim. If you had instructed them before this 3 year limit and they failed to advise or pursue your claim within this time, you may be able to claim for professional negligence. Every lawyer knows about limitation periods, and should know how long they have to provide you with advice.

My case was struck out because of my old lawyer, can I bring it again?

Your lawyer would have been told by the Court what action to take after they submitted your claim. If they failed to follow these instructions, particularly if it was in regards to time limits, the Court may apply sanctions or strike out your claim. Even if you were able to claim compensation, but have not recovered the full amount, you may have a claim.

My paperwork wasn't explained to me, do I have a claim?

Before you decide to instruct your lawyer, they will send you formal documentation explaining the type of agreement, the fee arrangement, any costs etc. Any questions you may have had at this stage should have been answered by your lawyer, who is under a duty to make sure you understand the agreement being made between the 2 of you. They also have a duty to give you the best possible information on the costs of legal action, and keep you updated throughout your claim.
If then later on deductions are made from your settlement and your lawyer did not explain them, you can request that they give you a full explanation. If this explanation in unsatisfactory, then you should look into bringing a case against that firm for professional negligence.

My lawyer didn't tell me that accepting an offer was final, can I try again?

If your lawyer urged you to accept a settlement without explaining that it was a full and final settlement, you may have suffered a loss. Once a settlement has been reached, your lawyer should have told you the implication of accepting it. If they did not, then they may have been negligent in this decision, especially if you have suffered a loss and accepted an amount that was a lot less than you were entitled to.

What if the company became insolvent?

Before the dispute with your previous lawyer is taken any further, we will investigate as to whether there is any professional indemnity insurance in place. If there is, we will be able to claim against that to recover any losses that you may have suffered.

How much will this cost?

Just like your previous claim, a claim for professional negligence will be funded by similar options. We would need to do a full assessment of your claim before we advise you on the best options for you. No win no fee, before the event insurance and paying privately, are all options that may be open to you if you decide to choose us as your professional negligence lawyers. We will be able to fully explain the funding structures to you so you can make an informed decision about your claim.

My care costs after an accident were left out of calculations, can I claim back for them?

When calculating how much your total claim is worth, your lawyer should have taken into account your injury and any expenses you may have had to pay because of your accident. In some instances, lawyers forget to take into account hospital journeys, home adaptations or medical costs that you incurred during the process. If you were not asked for these documents, or told that they were not needed, your lawyer may have acted negligently and caused you to lose out in your final settlement. These types of expenses can be claimed back if they were substantial by a professional negligence lawyer.

What if my case is ongoing?

If your case is ongoing but you are unhappy with your current lawyer, you are free to change your representation. It is your lawyer’s responsibility to reply to you in a timely manner and to keep the progress of your claim running smoothly. If you are unhappy with the people representing you now, call us and we can help you transfer your case.

My lawyer is not communicating with me. Can I change lawyers?

If you are making every effort to communicate with your lawyer and you are receiving no correspondence in return, this can be frustrating. It can also make you lose faith in your claim. If your lawyers are not communicating with you or are slow in their communication, this is a good enough reason to consider moving your claim elsewhere.

Does your claim deserve a rethink? Contact us now for a free second opinion