This article focuses on what to do if a solicitor is negligent. If you lost the chance to pursue all or part of your personal injury or medical negligence claim because of the fault of your solicitor, we look at how you could be eligible to pursue a professional negligence claim against them.
All professionals, including solicitors that represent civil claims, owe each of their clients a duty of care to provide them with service of reasonable skill and care. If this duty of care was breached, it could mean that the client does not receive the correct standard of service and, due to this, loses the chance to seek personal injury compensation.
We explain what can be used as valid evidence of this. Also, we discuss how compensation is calculated and awarded in a successful claim against a solicitor at fault. Lastly, we explore the ways that professional negligence solicitors could guide you through each stage of a claims process like this.
Our advisors offer a free case check to establish eligibility. Simply get in touch to access assistance 24/7 and learn more about how to start your claim:
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- When Can You Claim For Professional Negligence Against A Solicitor?
- Advice Regarding What To Do If A Solicitor Is Negligent
- Examples Of Professional Negligence By A Solicitor
- How Much Compensation Could You Receive In A Claim Against A Solicitor For Professional Negligence?
- No Win No Fee Professional Negligence Claims Against Personal Injury Solicitors
- Learn More About What To Do If A Solicitor Is Negligent
Professional negligence can occur if a professional fails to meet the expected standards of their industry and this, in turn, causes losses. Various professions, such as solicitors, accountants, architects and engineers, have a duty of care to their clients.
This guide specifically explores claims against personal injury and medical negligence solicitors. To be eligible to make a professional negligence claim against a personal injury solicitor, the following must apply:
- The solicitor owed you a duty of care
- Through actions or omission, they breached this duty.
- You experienced loss as a result
- You are within the 6-year limitation period for starting a professional negligence claim.
There may be exceptions to the time limit that could apply to your case. If you would like further guidance on your eligibility to make a claim for professional negligence, please get in touch. We can discuss any questions or queries you have regarding what to do if a solicitor is negligent.
Evidence needs to show that your solicitor’s negligence was the reason that you experienced loss in your claim. With this in mind, you can gather correspondence that details the reasons why your claim failed. For example, your solicitor may send you a letter or email detailing why part or all of the claim can no longer be pursued.
As well as providing evidence that supports your professional negligence claim, you will also need to supply evidence for the original personal injury or medical negligence claim. It will need to be proven on the balance of probabilities that the original claim would have succeeded but for the negligence of the solicitor.
The Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA), is the regulator of law firms and solicitors in England and Wales. They outline a Code of Conduct explaining the professional standards expected of solicitors registered with the SRA. General scenarios of how a personal injury solicitor could be liable for a client’s losses:
- Valuing your personal injury claim too low because they forgot to include your loss of earnings
- Missing the period of limitation in which to initiate legal proceedings meaning that your claim became statued barred.
- Failing to correctly comply with court instructions leading to the court striking out the claim.
Perhaps there was another reason your case was either fully or partially struck out by the courts because of your solicitor. For advice on what to do if a solicitor is negligent and whether you could have an eligible professional negligence claim, please call our advisors at the number above.
Is There A Time Limit To Making A Professional Negligence Claim?
The Limitation Act 1980 sets out a general six-year time limit for professional negligence claims, although there are exceptions. The exact date this might start from is something our advisors offer advice about, so please feel free to get in touch.
Compensation for professional negligence seeks to place the person in the position they would have been in had it not been for the negligence of the professional. Calculating professional negligence compensation is literally done on a case-by-case basis, as there are so many different types of professionals in different industries. The way professional negligence compensation is worked out for, say, claims against an architect is different to how it will be done against a personal injury solicitor.
With this in mind, if the professional negligence claim against a personal injury solicitor is successful, compensation will be awarded similarly to the way it would have been had the original claim been successful: the award can include both general and special damages.
General damages aim to compensate the person for the physical and psychological injury they suffered. These amounts seek to acknowledge the pain, suffering, loss of amenity and long-term health impacts.
Amounts are calculated by referring to a publication called the Judicial College Guidelines (JCG). Below we include an excerpt, but it’s important to remember that these amounts are guide figures only. Compensation will always vary according to individual circumstances and the supporting medical evidence:
|Area of Harm||Severity Level||Award Bracket||Notes|
|Head||(c) Moderate (i)||£150,110 to £219,070||Instances of moderate to severe intellectual deficit or a marked impact on personality and senses, such as sight and speech. No prospect of employment.|
|Wrist||(a) Wrist Injuries||£47,620 to £59,860||Injuries that cause the complete loss of function in the wrist.|
|Leg||(b) Severe (iii) Serious||£39,200 to £54,830||Compound or comminuted fractures that are serious and leave instability and require prolonged treatment.|
|Arm||(b) Injuries Resulting in Permanent and Substantial Disablement||£39,170 to £59,860||Serious cases of fracture to one or both forearms and which leave a significant permanent residual disability.|
|Back||(a) Severe (iii)||£38,780 to £69,730||This bracket assesses cases of disc lesions or fractures of discs. Soft tissue injuries that lead to chronic conditions. Cases that leave a remaining level of pain, discomfort and disability.|
|Neck||(b) Moderate (i)||£24,990 to £38,490||Fractures and dislocations that prompt severe symptoms and may give rise to the future risk of spinal surgery.|
|Elbow||(b) Less Severe Injury||£15,650 to £32,010||Injuries which may cause impaired function but which do not involve major surgery or leave significant disability.|
|Knee||(b) Moderate (i)||£14,840 to £26,190||Injuries which involve dislocation, torn cartilage or damaged meniscus which creates minor instability, wasting, or other types of less severe disability.|
|Ankle||(c) Moderate||£13,740 to £26,590||Fractures and ligament tears which prompt less serious disabilities including difficulty on uneven ground or standing or walking for long periods of time. Potential risk of future osteoarthritis.|
|Shoulder||(c) Moderate||£7,890 to £12,770||Cases of frozen shoulder that leave limited movement and persisting discomfort . Soft tissue injuries that include more minimal conditions that are not permanent.|
An 8% interest also applies for each year that has passed.
Special damages are the second head of claim that can apply. To do this, you need to present evidence of financial loss and expenses related to your injuries, such as receipts, bank statements, paid invoices and wage slips that show:
- Medical expenses
- Lost earnings while off work
- Travel costs to and from hospital appointments
- Domestic care costs
- Any essential modifications to your home or car.
To access a more precise estimate based on your circumstances, speak with our team. They can guide you through an eligibility assessment and possibly connect you with a lawyer who knows what to do if a solicitor is negligent.
The professional negligence solicitors from our panel can offer their services via a No Win No Fee contract.
The version solicitors on our panel offer is called a Conditional Fee Agreement (CFA). It allows you to launch a claim with a solicitor with no fees needed upfront.
Only if the claim is a success does a capped percentage become due. This is deducted from the award to act as their success fee. For unsuccessful outcomes, no fees are usually needed for completed work on your claim. Please call our team at the contact details below to learn more.
Thank you for taking the time to read our guide on what to do if a solicitor is negligent. Below are more of our helpful guides relating to professional negligence:
- Read more on how professional negligence solicitors can help you
- What other evidence do you need in a professional negligence claim?
- When can you make a professional negligence claim against a solicitor?
These external resources may also be helpful:
- The Law Society – Information on some common legal issues.
- SRA – A helpful explanation of legal jargon.
- Ministry of Justice – The Pre-Action Protocol for Professional Negligence Claims