Professional Negligence

Professional Negligence Solicitors

What is professional negligence? Why does it matter? How can rhw help?

Most of us at some time or other in our lives use the services of businesses and individuals who are “experts” in certain areas such as finance, property or the law. Their specialist skills are essential where the majority of people do not have the knowledge and experience to deliver what it is they want to achieve. We depend on professional advisers to protect us in specialist areas to help reduce personal risk.

The issue of professional negligence comes into place where an expert employed to protect their client’s interests fails to perform their responsibilities to the required standard. This can leave the client at risk of financial or even physical harm.

What is Professional Negligence?

Professional negligence can be associated with a wide range of areas, varying from technical and legal errors through to a failure to understand what has been requested by the client. Negligence can then result in a disregard for a client’s best interests, financial losses, wasted costs, and personal distress.

The legal environment in which professional negligence sits is defined by the failure to act within a duty of care owed by a professional to their client. The duty of care can arise through tort law, contractual arrangement, and in some instances, both. Where there is a concurrent duty, the claimant can choose whether to bring their action in contract or tort.

The benchmark by which negligence is defined is measured against the professional standards recognised by others within the same profession. Professional negligence is not about trying to catch professionals out, or jump on any minor omissions, as we are all human, but it is about protecting clients where they have an expectation that the service they have paid for should protect their interests properly.

Professionals are expected to maintain service levels that are comparable (or better) to their peers in their same field of expertise, and generally comply with the standard owed. If the standard delivered can be adjudged to be below what should be expected in that field of expertise, and the professional has made an error which no reasonable member of that profession would have made, a client may wish to pursue a claim for negligence.

If the client has suffered a loss, financial or otherwise as a result of the negligence, they will understandably wish to recoup these losses in the form of compensation (referred to in legal terms as damages). The basic principle that the courts apply in respect of compensation is to put the claimant in the same financial position had the breach not occurred. Quantifying the likely amount of compensation is not always straight-forward, and the client may have unknowingly contributed to the loss.

Fortunately, professionals nearly always have the protection of professional indemnity insurance so claimants will usually be able to recover some or all of their loss and the majority of their legal costs of bringing the claim if liability is established.

How rhw can help

Undertaking the required analysis of the performance of a specialist professional, in both personal and business environments. We assess the case for negligence, including possible contributory negligence claims, by reviewing the professional relationship itself, the duty of care owed to the client, and the likelihood of successfully recovering compensation.

rhw can advise on other statutory claims arising out of the Limitation Act 1980, Third Party Rights Against Insurers Act 1930, and the Civil Contributions Act 1978.

It is critical that claims are brought within the required time frame, as otherwise, the claimant may lose their right to claim entirely. rhw solicitors can advise you on the time frames material to your case and assist you at every stage of the claim.

We can provide our clients with a report outlining the merits of a claim and the options available, with a view to finding the quickest, most cost-effective strategy for rapid resolution of the situation.


rhw Solicitors in Guildford (logo) rhw solicitors offer a comprehensive dispute resolution package and can assist with professional negligence matters.

Find out how rhw’s Dispute Resolution Team can help you and contact guildford@rhw.co.uk or call us on 01483 302000

Meet the Dispute Resolution Team

Lyssa Reeve

Lyssa Reeve

Associate Solicitor
Niamh Cheek

Niamh Cheek

Legal Secretary
Katrina Burrows

Katrina Burrows

Trainee Solicitor

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