Professional negligence is one of those technical legal terms that probably means little to almost anyone without legal knowledge.
However, it’s one of the most serious legal breaches and also one of the most common reasons someone will take a working professional or business to court.
This probably doesn’t make much sense to you at the moment but we’ll explain the ins and outs of this, and how it can affect you. We’ll also look at how the awareness of professional negligence has increased dramatically on the client side and how this affects business operations, working relationships and case numbers.
What Is Professional Negligence?
Professional negligence occurs when a client feels like the individual or company they’re working with has failed them in their legal responsibilities and duties somehow. Most often, this perceived negligence on the part of the professional has resulted in some kind of personal damage or financial difficulties, which forms as the basis for the negligence.
These kinds of cases are prevalent in the medical field when a patient feels like a doctor has failed in their duty of care or some other aspect, and then this has affected their health negatively.
However, it occurs in many other fields like:
- Financial advisors
- Insurance brokers
- Business consultants
For a professional negligence case to occur, it needs to be established that the professional in question has failed in this duty of care to the client. It needs to be shown conclusively that the breach has directly resulted in either personal or financial difficulties.
For example, if you’re dealing with an architecture firm. An example of them failing in their duties and responsibilities would be not designing a building to government and legal procedures. This would serve as a solid basis for the client to pursue professional negligence in the courts.
It’s becoming very easy for clients to pursue this as well and it’s partly because of the awareness we now have on these matters.
The Shift In Professional Negligence Awareness and How To Avoid It
The shift in awareness is a result of advances in technology and the easy access people now have to legal services online. Jumping on the internet and finding out information on a topic has never been easier than what it is now.
This means any person can now find out what professional negligence is. They are now able to educate themselves on this topic, which has directly increased the amount of case numbers we’re seeing.
Clients now have a greater understanding of their legal rights and the kind of action they can take if they feel professional negligence has occurred.
There is one simple way to prevent this ever occurring and it’s a contract. A valid, written legal contract that outlines expectations and responsibilities of both the employer and the clients. It’s really that simple.
Still, there will be cases where disputes arise but a contract will protect you in most cases. It puts legally into writing what is expected of you as a business owner and what’s expected of the client. Then at least, if things don’t go according to plan in the working relationship, you know you’re protected legally.
And it goes without saying, never deviate from what is expected of you legally. This is the safest and surest way of avoiding any sticky situations.
Professional negligence is a matter that can seriously affect your business operations and overall profit. If it goes to court then there’ll be a lot of money that needs to be spent on legal fees and this eats into your profits. Not to mention the kind of stress that it results in.
It’s important that you’re always aware of what your legal and ethical responsibilities are as a business professional. Remember, in today’s world your clients are better informed and prepared than ever before. Awareness is greater than it has ever been.
Still feeling confused about professional negligence? Then get in touch with us today. After you’ve finished speaking to one of our legal experts you’ll feel much more comfortable understanding where you stand regarding this tricky legal area.