This article discusses eligibility for a professional negligence claim against a solicitor. All solicitors have a duty of care towards their clients and if this is breached, causing you a loss, then you could be entitled to make a compensation claim.
In this guide, we will look at the process of making a professional negligence claim against a solicitor. We will look at how their breaching their duty of care towards you could affect your personal injury or medical negligence claim. Furthermore, we’ll look at how settlements in professional negligence claims could be valued.
Towards the end of this guide, we will discuss the benefits that could be offered when working with a No Win No Fee solicitor. If you would like to discuss your potential claim in person, we offer a free consultation service to our readers without any obligation to proceed. Simply connect with our knowledgeable team. You can:
Choose A Section
- When Can You Make A Professional Negligence Claim Against A Solicitor?
- Evidence That Could Be Used In A Professional Negligence Claim
- What Could You Receive After Making A Professional Negligence Claim Against A Solicitor?
- Why Make A Professional Negligence Claim On A No Win No Fee Basis?
- Contact Us For Free To See If You Can Claim Compensation For Professional Negligence
- Learn More About Making A Professional Negligence Claim Against A Solicitor
Professional negligence can be when you fail to be given the reasonable standard of service owed to you and this causes you to experience a loss. Solicitors are a category of professionals and have a duty of care to provide services that don’t fall below a certain standard. If you’re making a claim with a solicitor and they breach this duty of care, causing you a loss, then you could be entitled to make a claim. For example, you could claim for the loss of chance to pursue compensation that their breach of duty of care has caused.
The Solicitors Regulation Authority set out a code of conduct that solicitors should follow when working with clients. A breach of this does not automatically mean that a lawyer is negligent, however. Below, we look at some of the ways that a solicitor could cause you to sustain a loss in relation to your claim.
My Claim Has Been Struck Out Because Of My Solicitor
When making a claim, there are certain timescales and deadlines that your lawyer needs to meet. If any of these are missed, then the court could be struck out.
Your claim can be struck out in full, or in part. For example, if your lawyer failed to adhere to a court time limit in submitting a form, then your claim could be struck out in full. Alternatively, if they forgot to present evidence in support of special damages despite the fact that you provided this information, then this part of your claim could be struck out while the rest is allowed to continue.
My Claim Has Been Turned Down
If your compensation claim has been rejected by your solicitor too close to the limitation period for you to seek other legal representation, then this could affect the success of your claim. They could do this because (for example) they have forgotten about the claim and don’t have time to investigate, or because they haven’t properly considered the facts of the case.
Can I Claim If My Claim Was Under-Settled?
Another scenario that could impact a personal injury claim or medical negligence claim is if a solicitor under-settles your claim. For example, they might fail to wait until your injuries have fully recovered from their injuries meaning that the full extent of the impact is not fully ascertained. Alternatively, they may fail to collect the correct medical evidence to support the case. Some injuries may not be considered altogether; for example, a lawyer could take into account your physical injuries but fail to consider the mental injuries you suffered from.
Solicitors could also fail to take into account special damages, too. For example, they could fail to include a loss of earnings in your claim despite you having experienced them.
Missing The Limitation Deadline
A time limit generally applies to beginning a compensation claim. For instance, in personal injury and medical negligence claims, this time limit is generally 3 years. If your claim doesn’t begin within the time limit, it could become statute-barred meaning you would not be able to pursue a settlement.
If you aren’t awarded compensation because your solicitor failed to submit the claim within the limitation period, then this could be an example of solicitor negligence.
Evidence in a professional negligence claim against a solicitor can be useful. You could use correspondence between you and your legal representative as proof. For example, if your claim has been dismissed, then your solicitor should write to you making you aware of this and explaining the reasons why. This could illuminate how their action or inaction contributed to this.
Furthermore, you will be expected to provide evidence that your initial claim would have been a success were it not for your lawyer’s breach of duty of care. This evidence could include:
- Medical records or the results of a medical assessment
- Photographs of your injury
- A diary of your symptoms
- Proof of financial losses
Our team are on hand to discuss your potential case for solicitor negligence. Simply call on the number at the top of the page for free advice.
Professional negligence claims aim, to put a claimant in the position they would have been in had their claim been handled correctly. In personal injury and medical negligence claims,
General damages is the head of claim that accounts for the pain and suffering that you experienced because of a breach of duty of care. Special damages are reimbursement for the past and future financial losses you’ve incurred because of your injuries. This can include loss of earnings, travel costs, medical expenses, care costs and adaptations to home or vehicle.
In addition to this, an 8% interest amount can be applied to the overall compensation for each year that has passed since the initial claim. This is to account for the interest that would have accrued if the initial claim had been a success.
A publication called the Judicial College Guidelines is used by legal professionals as a way to value claims. We’ve included some entries from this in our table below:
|Area of Injury||Description||Severity||Award Bracket|
|Head||Very serious disability that will require substantial dependence on professional and other care.||(b) Moderately Severe ||£219,070 to £282,010|
|Neck||Incomplete paraplegia persists despite wearing a collar 24 hours a day for years.||(a) Severe (i) ||In the region of
|Arm||Injuries that are not quite as extensive as amputation but leave the individual little better off.||(a) Severe Injuries ||£96,160 to £130,930|
|Knee||Fractures which reach into the knee joint and cause constant pain and limited movement.||(a) Severe (ii)||£52,120 to £69,730|
|Leg||Serious injuries requiring long treatment and resulting in extensive scarring and instability.||(b) Severe (iii) Serious ||£39,200 to £54,830|
|Back||Fractures of discs or vertebral bodies that cause permanent significant symptoms despite surgery.||(a) Severe (iii) ||£38,780 to £69,730|
|Pelvis||Although the injury is initially significant, issues are not major with future risk of disablement not great.||(b) Moderate (i)||£26,590 to £39,170|
|Ankle||Tears to ligaments and fractures that cause less serious disabilities.||(c) Moderate ||£13,740 to £26,590|
|Shoulder||Limited movement and discomfort that persists for longer than 2 years but isn't permanent.||(c) Moderate||£7,890 to £12,770|
|Wrist||Very minor fractures and soft tissue injuries that require weeks of treatment but where a full recovery is made within a year.||(f) Wrist Injuries||£3,530 to £4,740|
Loss of Chance Claims
In some cases, your claim would have been a guaranteed success were it not for the negligence of your solicitor, but in other cases the success of your initial claim will not be as clear. In these cases, a loss of chance reduction could be made to your settlement.
You would need to show that, on the balance of probabilities, your claim would have been a success; this means showing that your claim had at least a 51% chance of success. A loss of chance reduction will then be made. For example, if your initial claim had a 70% chance of success, then you’d receive 70% of the compensation that would have been awarded.
We could connect you to a professional negligence solicitor from our panel of experts to help you with your professional negligence claim. They can offer their services in a No Win No Fee capacity. They may provide a Conditional Fee Agreement (CFA), which means as a claimant you have:
- No upfront or ongoing fees to pay for their services
- No fees to pay for work completed if the claim fails
- Only a small amount to pay if the claim is successful. This amount is subject to a legislative cap, ensuring you always receive the majority of the compensation awarded.
Get in touch today to discuss eligibility for your professional negligence claim against a solicitor. You can:
We hope that you have found this guide on making a professional negligence claim against a solicitor useful. Below, we have included some further resources that could help:
- Find out more about making a professional negligence claim
- Learn how the services of a professional negligence solicitor could help you
- Guidance on evidence in a professional negligence claim
In conclusion, the following links may be helpful:
- Read more about how to complain about a solicitor from the Law Society
- Guidance from the Solicitors Regulation Authority on problems with law firms
- Lastly, information on the Legal Ombudsman
Page by FS
Published by NS