21 May 2020
09 Jul 2019
We asked our lawyers for their advice when resolving Professional Negligence and here are the top tips.
1. Which is the fastest way of resolving a claim of professional negligence: ombudsman services, mediation or going to court?
Using an ombudsman can be a good option, particularly if you have only suffered a small loss. Where possible, the ombudsman will resolve complaints relatively quickly and without charging you. The ombudsman may be able to award substantial compensation, but a more typical award is around £1,000. For larger claims, mediation can be a useful approach, provided both sides agree to its use. Instead of the case being argued out by lawyers on each side, the mediator (typically a specially trained lawyer) works with both parties to help you negotiate an agreement between yourselves. Successful mediation can help you reach an agreement in a matter of days, and with lower legal costs. Like many legal disputes, going to court should be a last resort. Costs can be high and cases can take months or even years to resolve. Wherever possible, you should aim to negotiate an agreement.
2. How long do I have to bring a claim for professional negligence?
The results of experiencing negligence when you’ve paid someone for their professional services can be distressing, sometimes costly and occasionally a dangerous threat to your health. In most cases you need to bring a court case within six years of the date of the negligence. You may still be able to bring a claim after that period if the negligence only comes to light at a later date. If you want your complaint to be dealt with by an ombudsman, other time limits also apply. Typically you have six months in which to contact the ombudsman after receiving a final response from the adviser you are claiming against.
In all cases talking to your legal adviser at the outset will help you to decide on the option that is best for you, in terms of time, costs and the amount of compensation you might receive.