Understanding Professional Negligence Claims: What You Need to Know


What is Professional Negligence?

Professional negligence occurs when a professional fails to meet the standards expected of someone, resulting in financial loss or damage to their client. Doctors, lawyers, accountants, architects, engineers and financial advisors are some examples of professionals who can be sued for professional negligence if their actions fall below the expected standard of care.

To prove a professional negligence claim, three key elements must be established:

Duty of Care

The professional owed a legal duty to their client to avoid actions or omissions that could cause 

harm. This duty arises from the contractual relationship between the professional and the client.

Breach of Duty

The professional breached their duty of care through an act or omission. This means they could have met the expected professional standards.


The client experienced harm or loss due to the professional’s breach of duty. This can include physical harm in medical negligence cases, financial loss for errors by accountants or lawyers, or damage to property from an architect’s or engineer’s negligence.

A professional negligence claim will succeed with evidence to prove these elements.

When Can You Sue for Professional Negligence?

There are time limits on bringing professional negligence claims. This is the statute of limitations and limits your time to start legal action.

Time limits vary by state and the professional involved. For example, in some states, you may only have 1-3 years from the date of injury/damage to file a lawsuit against a doctor or lawyer for malpractice.

Consult a professional negligence attorney to determine if the statute of limitations applies to your potential claim. Acting quickly is essential to preserve your right to seek compensation.

Examples of Professional Negligence

Some examples of potential professional negligence claims include:

  • Medical malpractice – A doctor failing to diagnose a severe illness or injury, surgical errors, mistakes with medication/dosages, etc.
  • Legal malpractice – A lawyer missing a filing deadline, failing to follow client instructions, or not advising you of rights/remedies under the law.
  • Accounting errors – An accountant makes mistakes in tax preparation, audits, and financial statements, resulting in fines, penalties or financial loss.
  • Bad investment advice – A financial advisor recommends unsuitable investments or strategies that are too risky for a client’s goals.
  • Engineering/architectural failures – Design flaws, structural issues, code violations or other faults that compromise safety or lead to property damage.

You may have a negligence claim if any professional error causes you significant damages. An experienced attorney can assess the details of your situation.

Consulting a Professional Negligence Lawyer

Suppose you believe you have suffered financial, physical or other harm due to the negligence of a doctor, lawyer, accountant or other professional. In that case, discussing your case with a qualified attorney is essential. Here’s what an experienced negligence lawyer can do for you:

  • Review the circumstances to determine if you have a valid compensation claim.
  • Outline the evidence needed to prove the professional breached their duty of care, caused damages, etc.
  • Explain legal processes and what to expect with your case.
  • Handle negotiations and litigation to pursue compensation from the responsible party.
  • Deal with insurance companies and defence lawyers on your behalf.
  • Assess the value of your damages and lost income to seek maximum compensation.
  • Advise you of time limits for legal action.
  • Reduce stress by managing details so you can focus on recovery.

Be sure to contact a professional negligence attorney to start exploring your options. With their guidance, you can decide on the best action for your situation.

Key Takeaways

  • Professional negligence occurs when a professional fails to meet the expected standards in their field, causing harm to a client.
  • Critical elements like duty of care, breach of duty and damages must be proven for a successful claim.
  • Medical malpractice, legal malpractice, accounting errors and lousy investment advice are some examples.
  • Negligence claims must be brought within strict time limits that vary by state.
  • An experienced professional negligence attorney can help assess if you have a valid claim and pursue compensation on your behalf.

Don’t hesitate to consult a professional negligence lawyer if you feel a doctor, lawyer, accountant, or other professional caused significant financial loss or damage through errors or negligence. They can advise you of your legal rights and options for recovery. With professional negligence lawyers expertise, you can make the best decisions in seeking fair compensation.

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