What is negligence?
Negligence is a breach of duty of care which a person or business may owe to you. Negligence can give rise to a claim for damages provided losses have been caused by the negligence. It is often also possible to sue a professional for breach of contract.
Who is a professional?
A professional in the broadest sense is a person who holds themselves as having specialist, expert knowledge in a particular field.
I have bought a new house but think the survey was wrong, who can I sue?
‘Buyer beware’ is the maxim which applies when buying a property, but if you have engaged a surveyor to inspect a property and report upon it for you then, depending upon on the nature of the defect(s) and the type of survey which you obtained, you may be entitled to redress against the surveyor. It is much less common for there to be redress against the seller, unless they have deliberately concealed or otherwise misled you about the condition of the property.
Can I sue my architect for negligence?
Architects, like other professionals, are accountable to their client when they have been negligent in carrying out their services or have acted in breach of their contract with you. Claims against architects often involve an assessment of others who are part of a building project, e.g. structural engineer and building contractors. Therefore, using specialist lawyers can be important. Architects ought to have professional indemnity insurance in place to ensure that a successful claim will result in payment.
Can I use my house insurance to claim against my builder?
General household insurance does not usually cover claims for poor builders’ workmanship. If you have legal expense insurance as part of your household or other insurance policies, then you may be entitled to claim the costs of legal advice and representation to pursue a claim.
Can I use my legal expenses insurance to pay my legal fees?
You may be able to do so. You will need to contact your insurer and inform them of your intention to make a claim. They will usually ask you to complete a claim form before they decide if you have cover for the claim. Often insurers insist that they appoint one of their panel lawyers to act for you. Some claimants understandably prefer to appoint their own legal representative. However, you are entitled to choose your own lawyer in certain circumstances. We can provide guidance to you.
Do I need a solicitor to act for me if I think I have been given the wrong advice by a financial adviser?
Financial advice services are a complex and wide ranging area, from mortgages to investments to pensions. There is often also a choice of methods by which a claim can be resolved, e.g. through the courts or through an ombudsman scheme. Each has its own limitations. It is always best to obtain specialist legal advice if you are thinking of making a claim for bad financial advice.
I think I have been mis-sold PPI? Do I need a solicitor?
No, it is usually not cost effective for you to use a lawyer and the procedure itself is relatively straightforward. We do NOT offer PPI recovery services.
Can I sue my solicitor?
Solicitors, legal executives and barristers owe a duty of care to their clients and must not act in breach of the contract (‘retainer’) which you have with them or against their own professional rules of conduct. If your legal adviser has been negligent and/or acted in breach of contract, and provided you have sustained losses caused by that negligence, then you have the makings of a claim.
I want to sue my builder, but he hasn’t finished the job what can I do?
Take legal advice as soon as you can. Make sure you have all written documents e.g. contract, quotation, list of payments. Take photos and make a list of the problems/defects. At some point you will need a report from a buildings expert but it is usually better for this to be obtained in conjunction with your solicitor. A ‘Letter of Claim’ needs to be sent by your legal adviser to the builder to start a formal process to enable the dispute to be resolved.