Case Study: Professional Negligence Claim Against Previous Solicitors for Mishandled Hearing Loss Claim

Mr W. Was Awarded £3,750

JMW secured £3,750 compensation for a client who was the victim of professional negligence.

The Original Case

Mr W was a former plumber who had become aware that he was suffering from noise induced hearing loss in 2010. At this time, Mr W visited his doctor after noticing that his hearing was not as good as it should be. With confirmation from the doctor that he was suffering from hearing loss that could have been caused by working in a noisy environment, Mr W instructed solicitors in 2012 to claim compensation from his former employers on his behalf. The solicitors took on Mr W’s case and eventually issued court proceedings. However, they later dropped the case telling Mr W that he had passed the three-year limitation period in which a case could be brought.

The Professional Negligence Case:

Mr W contacted JMW Solicitors because he felt that his claim had been mis-handled by his previous solicitors and he hoped to continue his claim. Unfortunately, more than three years had now passed since Mr W’s knowledge of his hearing loss, meaning we were unable to pursue this claim for him. However, JMW solicitor Alison Chu was confident that a professional negligence claim could be brought against Mr W’s former solicitors.

Mr W’s former solicitors, the defendant, claimed that their reason for dropping Mr W’s case was that he had attended a doctors appointment in 2008 at which point he was advised that he had slight deterioration in hearing that was the result of normal ageing. However, Alison agreed with Mr W that he had no cause to attribute any hearing loss to noise until 2010 when a later doctors appointment confirmed a link between his hearing loss and his noisy working environment.

Furthermore, though the defendant used Mr W’s 2008 GP appointment as the reason for his exceeding the limitation period, they had acted on the basis that Mr W was only aware of hearing loss linked to noise, from his 2010 appointment. In matter of fact, Mr W’s former solicitors had failed to pursue the claim in time for the 2013 limitation date that they themselves had identified. For although the defendants issued court proceedings against Mr W’s employers, they then failed to follow these up within the four month period that was required for the claim to remain valid.

The Claim:

Alison pursued damages for Mr W on grounds of professional negligence. She alleged that Mr W’s previous solicitors had allowed the validity of the claim form to lapse by failing to take timely action. She also alleged that the solicitors did have sufficient time to investigate Mr W’s case before they issued court proceedings, but that they had failed to do so.

Settling the Case:

After having received all legal and medical files relating to Mr W’s case, Alison and Mr W decided to make a settlement offer to Mr W’s previous solicitors. The defendant accepted the offer and settled the case. Mr W was happy to receive £3,750 in damages.

If you or anyone you know has become aware of hearing loss within the last three years and believe this is due exposure to noise at either a current or previous job (current or previous), feel free to contact Andrew Lilley on 0161 828 1958 for free no obligation advice.

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