Professional Negligence Claims

If you feel that the service provided by a professional - be they an accountant, solicitor, surveyor, trustee, executor or other professional - was negligent and this resulted in you suffering financial loss, you could be in a position to make a claim. The experienced commercial litigation solicitors at JMW are here to guide you through the process and help you secure the compensation to which you are entitled.

Find out more about our services in this area and how we can assist with your professional negligence claim by contacting us today. Simply call us on 0345 872 6666 or complete our online enquiry form and a member of the team will give you a call back at a convenient time to discuss your situation in more detail. 

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Why Choose JMW?

JMW's team of experienced commercial litigation solicitors can provide the expert advice and assistance you need to ensure you are in the very best position to make a successful claim. We have particular expertise in professional negligence cases in the following areas:

We will work alongside you throughout your claim, providing support and advice every step of the way. We believe communication is key and we will therefore keep you updated of any developments as they happen.

Our commercial litigation solicitors have expertise in all types of professional negligence claims and will advise and assist you in a cost-effective and timely manner. We are a dynamic team with a huge appreciation of our clients' specific business needs and have grown to be one of the biggest single office litigation departments in the North West, covering every area of litigation.

Accountant Professional Negligence

Accountants provide vital advice to businesses and individuals during all kinds of processes, from the buying and selling of property to the paying of tax and other bills. This advice should be reliable and accurate. If you feel that the service provided by an accountant was negligent and has caused you to suffer financially, you may be able to bring a professional negligence claim against that accountancy firm.

Examples of accountancy services include:

  • Tax advice and planning
  • Audit and assurance
  • Cashflow and business planning
  • Tax returns
  • VAT returns
  • Employer annual returns
  • Bookkeeping
  • Payroll

Whether you instruct an accountant in a personal or commercial capacity, they owe you a duty of care. As with other professionals, the standard of care expected is one of reasonableness (the care and skill of a reasonably competent accountant, for example).

If the standard of the services provided to you, including the advice given, falls below this test of reasonableness, this may constitute a breach of duty by the accountant. For example, if your accountant is responsible for filing a return with HMRC by a particular date, the accountant misses the deadline and you are charged a fine as a result, this may constitute a potential accountant professional negligence claim.

Other common reasons for bringing a claim against an accountant include:

  • Negligent tax advice
  • Inaccurate tax returns
  • Failure to identify auditing issues

Solicitor Professional Negligence

Most of us will need to call on solicitors for specialist legal advice and assistance at some point in our lives, for example when purchasing a property or dealing with the estate of a loved one. Solicitors, like other professionals, owe you a duty of care to provide their services with reasonable care and to a reasonable standard.

It is an unfortunate fact that at times solicitors fail to perform their services to the required standard, and this can result in unwelcome consequences for you. Such negligence can cause significant financial loss, distress and wasted management time and resources.

In order to establish a claim for compensation for a solicitor's professional negligence, you must satisfy certain legal criteria. For example, you must be able to show that the solicitor owed you a duty of care, that they breached that duty, that such a breach caused loss and that you suffered financially as a result.

There are a number of common scenarios in which solicitors breach their duty of care, namely when they act or fail to act in a way that ultimately leads to problems for you. These may include:

  • Providing poor and/or incorrect advice
  • Failing to comply with your instructions
  • Making errors in drafting documents, such as leases, wills and contracts
  • Failing to pursue the correct or most appropriate course of action
  • Missing the limitation date or other key dates
  • Suing the wrong party
  • Settling a claim for less than its true value

In relation to costs, solicitors have a specific duty to provide their clients with the best information possible at the outset of the matter, and this should include an estimate of the likely overall costs to its conclusion. You are entitled to query the level of the fees with your solicitors. For example, you can ask how they have been calculated, why they have charged that amount, what work has been undertaken and a breakdown of time spent.

It is important to note that all practising solicitors are legally obliged to have professional indemnity insurance of at least £2 million in place, to cover compensation payable to you for the losses suffered and the legal costs incurred. In addition, solicitors are required to purchase run-off cover so that clients can still pursue compensation for claims that arise after a firm has closed down.

Surveyor Professional Negligence

Surveyors provide vital advice to other professionals and individuals during a building project or property purchase. If you feel that the service provided by a surveyor was negligent, you may be able to bring a professional negligence claim against that surveyor.

Surveyors are generally appointed at a time when you or your business is making a substantial investment or purchase. Surveyors are engaged to demonstrate that the property you are investing in or purchasing is free from defects and is priced appropriately. These are key protections when making a substantial investment or purchase.

As with any professional, you should expect a high standard of service and accurate advice from a surveyor. This is particularly important when using a surveyor because the amount of money involved is often substantial. If a surveyor falls below the standard that you would expect, resulting in a loss to you or your business, you may be able to bring a professional negligence claim against the surveyor.

A surveyor may be negligent if they:

  • Undervalued or overvalued a mortgage valuation
  • Undervalued or overvalued the price of the property
  • Failed to identify defects in the property
  • Failed to take into account market conditions relevant to the property
  • Underestimated the cost of stopping or delaying a construction project

As professionals, surveyors owe a duty of care to their clients. The scope of the duty owed can generally be determined by the nature of the survey they carry out. Types of surveys include:

  • Full Structural Surveys

This is the most comprehensive type of survey and imposes the greatest duty of care on the surveyor. A Full Structural Survey is designed to give a 'top to bottom' review of a property. It should identify any potential problems and building defects, which should allow you to make an informed decision.

  • Home Buyers Report

The Home Buyers Report is not as detailed as a Full Structural Survey, but it is still designed to provide you with a comprehensive overview of the property.

  • Mortgage Valuation

Mortgage Valuations produced by a surveyor are intended to give an indication of the value of the property. They provide very limited detail about the condition of the property but do take into account the market rate of similar properties. Mortgage Valuation Reports limit the scope of the report, therefore the duty owed by the surveyor it limited.

Even if a surveyor is appointed by a mortgage lender, they still owe a duty of care to the prospective buyer. A surveyor owes a duty of care whether they are instructed by an individual buying a house or by a construction firm involved in a large-scale development. The nature of a surveyor's client or project does not release them from their duties.

Trustee and Executor Professional Negligence

If you believe that an executor or trustee has not dealt with an estate or trust appropriately, you may be able to make a claim for compensation. For more information on this subject, head to our Professional Negligence Claims Against Trustees and Executors page.

Talk to Us

Our specialist commercial litigation solicitors are here to help you pursue your professional negligence claim and to give you the very best chance of securing the outcome you want. Contact us today and we can discuss your situation in more detail and advise on the options open to you. Do so by calling us on 0345 872 6666 or by completing our online enquiry form, which will enable us to give you a call back at a convenient time.

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