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How to Sue - What is Professional Negligence?

How to Sue - What is Professional Negligence?

This blog is the first of a ‘how to’ series explaing how to sue professionals for negligence. Each month will focus on a different aspect of professional negligence or category of professional. This month starts off by discussing:  What is Professional Negligence?

What does Professional Negligence mean?

Professional negligence is a breach of the duty of care between professionals and their clients.  Such a situation usually arises when a professional fails to live up to the professional standards required of them, resulting in their client suffering either damage or loss.

Can you sue for Professional negligence?

Yes. In Scotland, it is possible to sue a professional for acting negligently, but claims are time limited. There is a five-year time limit when claiming for professional negligence. The time limit starts from the date where the negligent act occurs. However, if the negligence doesn’t come to light until a later date you may still be able to make a claim, this is known as the date of knowledge, in some circumstances you have five years from the date you became aware the negligence caused you loss.

How do I know if the professional has acted negligently?

In Scotland, a general test has been established for deciding whether professional negligence has taken place. The test varies depending on the type of professional, e.g., solicitor, Account, etc. but in general, the test has three mains parts. The test was established in the case of Hunter v Hanley 1955 SC 200 and is as follows:

1.    There must be a usual and normal practice.

In regards to the services provided to you, in the profession, there has to be a usual/normal way that the profession provides that particular service.

2.    That the professional has not followed this practice and;

It must be established that the professional did not choose to follow the normal/usual way of providing this service to you.

3.    it must be established that the course the professional had adopted is one which no professional person of ordinary skill would have taken if he/she had been acting with ordinary care.

It must be established that the way in which the professional acted was one in which no other professional of normal skill, taking the normal amount of care would have done.

I think I have a claim for professional negligence, what should I do?

If you believe you may have a claim arising from professional negligence, please contact us by telephone on 0131 226 8200 or by e-mail to arrange a no-commitment call.

Next Up

Next month's blog ‘How to Sue- Your Solicitor’ will focus on taking professional negligence claims against solicitors. It will expand on the test for professional negligence and highlight some examples of situations when a solicitor could be acting negligently.

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