I recently advised a client who had employed a surveyor to undertake a full building survey of their home, but they were not satisfied with the standard of his work. My client wasn’t sure what they could do about this, if anything at all. I advised them that they could potentially make a claim for professional negligence.
When you employ a professional such as a surveyor, solicitor, architect or financial advisor and the work they undertake falls below the standard reasonably expected, this is referred to as professional negligence.
There were also a few other questions that came up when speaking with my client such as, how long do we have to make a claim and will I need to go to court.
How long do you have to make a claim?
Generally you have six years from the date you suffered the loss to make a claim (this means actually issuing proceedings at court). However, if you did not immediately become aware of the loss (and could not reasonably be expected to have become aware) you could have three years from the date you became aware, as long as that date falls within 15 years of the loss.
Will there need to be court proceedings?
Not always. With professional negligence cases there is a pre-action protocol. This sets out the steps each person involved needs to take before issuing court proceedings. The aim of the protocol is to encourage people to settle matters without having to go to court.
Most straight-forward professional negligence claims will settle without the need for court proceedings. In more complex cases, it may be necessary for court proceedings to be started but there will still be opportunities to settle the claim throughout the process.
If you are in a similar situation, where a professional has failed to exercise reasonable care and skill which has led to you suffering loss you should take advice as there may be a claim.
For more information on professional negligence and making a claim, please contact Anna Barnes in our Dispute Resolution team on 0161 475 7655.