Professional negligence process
Here are the 6 simple steps to making a professional negligence claims.
We will contact your professional on your behalf and notify them of your intention to bring a claim; setting out a brief outline of your grievance. We will, at the same time and if necessary, request any file of papers that belong to you and review these to ensure your case is strong enough to proceed.
Professional negligence claims are controlled by a number of protocols which, in essence, allows the parties involved to understand and properly identify the issues in dispute and share information and relevant documents. The protocols allow us, on your behalf, to set out in writing, within what is called a Letter of Claim, the grounds for bringing a claim against the defendant professional. The Letter of Claim sets out the allegations against the professional; what has been done wrong or not been done. Once the professional has acknowledged the Letter of Claim, they have a period of 3 months in which to investigate the allegations against them.
Professional negligence cases are usually won only if they have the support of favourable, independent experts. It may be that more than one expert, in more than one field, is required to support your case.
We’ll draft and prepare a detailed ‘Witness evidence’ statement in accordance with your instructions. This document is very important and is be signed by a Statement of Truth.
It might be necessary to issue court proceedings if your case doesn’t settle. The claim is issued at court and the defendant has a limited amount of time to respond, either accepting or denying responsibility. Both sides will disclose all the documents relating to the claim, and expert evidence and witness statements will be exchanged. The trial date will then be listed. However very few cases ever go to trial; most are resolved by negotiation and are settled pre-trial. We will aim to achieve this in all cases.
If the case does proceed to trial, a date will be fixed once details of all parties’ availability have been provided to the court. The trial will likely take place before a Circuit or High Court Judge who will make a decision on the evidence of your cases.
How long does a claim take?
Because the circumstances surrounding every claim and their effects are different, it’s very difficult to give a definitive answer on how long it takes to settle a claim. Often it depends on how quickly our clients provide us with essential information, how quickly we can get medical records and assessments, and whether the insurance companies are willing to provide realistic offers to settle the claims.
Whilst we aim to settle your claim as quickly as possible, we also want to ensure we secure the maximum compensation for you. This often means we have to do some hard negotiation with the defendants – which takes extra time. Our aim is to balance progressing the claim as fast as possible with getting you the maximum settlement.
We realise that you’ll be keen to know about the progress of your claim so we will send you regular emails and texts to keep you up to date, and also to remind you if there is any information we’re waiting for from you.