The Types of Professional Negligence and How to Avoid Them


Being accused of professional negligence has the potential to bring your career to a grinding halt. So, it’s important to be aware of the various types and how to avoid them…

If you work in a professional industry, the service or advice you provide will be held to a set of specific standards. Failing to uphold these standards could lead to a professional negligence claim against yourself, or the company you represent. It could prove to be very damaging.

Plenty of professionals are aware of professional negligence, but very few are fully clued up on all the different types, such as being injured in a crash, or abused in another way, and how you can avoid them.

In this post, we’ll be diving deeper into some of the most common types of professional negligence you could be accused of. We’ll also discuss some of the best ways to avoid them, protecting you and your company!

Common Types of Professional Negligence

Financial Professional Negligence

Financial intermediaries are obliged to ensure that all financial products are properly constructed and sold to the appropriate client in the correct manner. If you’re found to have provided an insufficient service that results in a negative financial impact for a client, they may have grounds to make a claim of professional negligence against you.

The key legislation governing the regulation of financial professionals is the Financial Services and Markets Act 2000 (FSMA).

Engineering or Architectural Professional Negligence

Defective building or construction work could present a serious issue. For instance, if you’re a building contractor and you have made a mistake, used the wrong material or been responsible for significant delays to works, you could face a claim.

Accountancy Professional Negligence

Like all professionals, accountants have a duty of care towards their clients who rely on their advice and work. A breach of this duty of care could come in the form of a failure to complete an annual account or any other document requested by a client in a timely or accurate manner.

Auctioneers Professional Negligence

Auctioneers and valuers are frequently charged with providing valuations for buildings, both for private and commercial clients. Inappropriate or inaccurate valuations could put clients out of pocket and may result in an actional professional negligence claim.

Solicitors Professional Negligence

Solicitors are required to provide a high level of legal advice, no matter what area they specialise in. Anyone who feels as though they have received substandard legal advice from a solicitor that has left them in a precarious position could be in a position to pursue a claim.

Simple Tips to Help Avoid Professional Negligence

Now we what some of the most common professional negligence claims are, so how can you avoid them? These tips should give you a better idea…

Keep Up to Date with Professional Standards

No matter what industry you work in, it’s important to keep up to date with professional standards. These will dictate how you operate within your role and, if followed, will reduce the potential for a client or customer to file a complaint on the grounds of professional negligence.

Keep Up Good Communication with Clients

Staying in constant contact with a client is key. Complaints of sub-standard service often derive from the fact that clients are kept in the dark regarding the progress of work that’s being carried out. This means it’s important to be open and honest.

Even if there is an issue which could affect the service you provide, so long as you’re upfront and communicate this clearly, the service you provide is unlikely to be described as being negligent.

Don’t Promise the World

We all want to provide the best possible service for our clients. That being said, you shouldn’t be tempted to offer a service you and your company simply cannot deliver on.

Even if it means you aren’t able to attract and retain as many clients as you would like, it will reduce the potential of a client being unsatisfied with the service you provide.

Keep Clear Records for Evidence

In professional negligence cases, evidence is the key to securing a positive outcome. In cases where it’s one person’s word against another, solid evidence will support your case and prove that the service you provided was not in any way negligent.

So, you should always keep clear, concise records that are easily accessible and can be relied on if you receive a complaint.

Make Sure You Have Professional Indemnity Insurance

Professional indemnity insurance, often referred to as professional liability insurance or PI insurance, will cover the legal costs and expenses that incur if you are forced to defend a professional negligence claim. Any damages or costs that are awarded may also be covered.

All professionals should take out PI insurance as soon as possible so that they know that they’ll be covered if the worst does happen. Many industry bodies make PI insurance mandatory for employees.

Speak to a Specialist Professional Negligence Solicitor

If someone has launched professional negligence proceedings against you, there’s a chance that you’ll have to go to court. If that happens, you’ll need a specialist professional negligence solicitor on your side who can be there to defend you.

A professional negligence solicitor can help to challenge the claims against you, helping to test the legitimacy of the allegations and prove that you did meet the standards expected of you.

Are You Concerned About Facing a Professional Negligence Claim?

So, there you have it! If you’re a professional, this post should give you a clearer idea about the different types of professional negligence and how you can make sure that you avoid them

Have you ever had to deal with a professional negligence claim in the past? Or are you worried about the potential of facing one in the near future? Why not leave a comment below with your own thoughts so we can keep the discussion going.