Have you been Affected by Professional Negligence?

Professional Negligence

A professional should be just that, professional. When we engage the services of a professional in any area, whether it be financial, legal, medical or other, we trust that they will provide the right advice, and exercise reasonable care and skill when they administer their services. Professionals working in all fields are often required to undergo specialised training and for this reason they are considered a reliable source of assistance. They are sought out precisely because they are a professional in an area that a client may have little knowledge and skills.

Businesses and individuals who seek the services of a professional may feel they have ‘done the right thing’, but when the advice or services rendered by the ‘professional’ are amiss, erroneous or inaccurate this can result in significant loss for a business or individual. So is it a case of bad luck? In some circumstances it may be, but in other cases clients may be able to make a claim of professional negligence against the professional.

What is Professional Negligence?

Professionals working in a number of areas owe their clients a duty to act with reasonable care and skill. When a professional fails in this duty it is professional negligence and a client has the legal right to claim compensation for any loss they have suffered as a result. For example, an accountant makes an error when conducting tax services which ends up costing the client a significant amount of money.

Aside from errors, other examples of professional negligence may include: where a professional gives misleading professional or poor financial advice; negligent or incorrect treatment; engineering mistakes; or incorrect property evaluations.

Professionals bound by this duty of care include, but are not limited to:

  • accountants
  • financial advisors
  • advertising agents
  • medical practitioners
  • alternative healthcare professionals
  • architects
  • bankers
  • building consultants
  • builders
  • computer consultants
  • engineers
  • solicitors
  • real estate agents
  • veterinarians

Making a Professional Negligence Claim

In order to make a professional negligence claim a person will need to show that:

  • There was a duty of care owed by the professional
  • The professional breached their duty of care
  • They suffered loss or damage as a result of the professional’s breach of duty

Professional negligence claims can be difficult to prove as the standard of care owed by the professional will vary according to the individual case. A professional is not considered negligent simply because they have not achieved the highest results for a client or they have made a mere error in judgement. This is especially true in cases of financial advice and planning.

Under the Civil Liability Act 2002 a professional does not incur a liability in negligence arising from the provision of a professional service if it is established that the professional acted in a manner that (at the time the service was provided) was widely accepted in Australia by peer professional opinion as competent professional practice.

When deciding if a professional breached their duty a court will consider the actions and the standard of skill and expertise of a reasonable professional in the same position. The opinion of other like professionals will be used as evidence to determine this.

What Can You Claim?

Compensation claims may include past and future financial loss as a result of the professional negligence, expenses to fix any problems associated with the negligent act or omission, legal costs, medical costs, and fees paid to the professional.

A court will also consider any contributory negligence of the claimant when determining compensation and it is important to note that a compensation claim can only be made where professional negligence leads to loss or damage. A claim can not be made simply because a professional has been negligent.

Do Time Limits Apply When Making a Professional Negligence Claim?

Time limits do apply when making a professional negligence claim. Depending on the state, time limits vary between 3 and 6 years. It is therefore important to seek legal advice as soon as you become aware of any loss resulting from professional negligence.

An experienced compensation lawyer can review the circumstances of your case to determine if a professional has breached their duty and you can claim compensation for your loss.

At Taylor & Scott Lawyers, we are the compensation experts, providing timely advice, representation and the best possible outcomes for our clients. If you trusted a professional and their services or advice caused you loss or damage, contact us today.

Arrange an appointment using our online contact form or call 1800 600 664. In many compensation cases we’ll act for you on a no win/no fee basis.

At Taylor & Scott “We Care For You”.

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