Professional Negligence Lawyers

What is professional negligence?

Whenever you engage a professional, including a lawyer, accountant, engineer, or other type of specialized expert, that person owes you a common law duty of care. If the professional fails to provide their services up to a recognized professional standard and you suffer a loss due to this failure, that professional is liable to you in negligence.

You will likely have a signed engagement agreement with the professional, which delineates their contractual responsibility to you. The common law duty of care goes beyond this contractual responsibility and is based on how the professional services for which the professional was retained were performed.

As in all other cases of negligence, the basis of a professional’s liability for negligence and the client’s right to recover for losses arises from the breach of a duty of care. This applies to any act or omission in the performance of services for which the professional was retained.

How is professional negligence assessed?

Professionals are required to exercise due skill and competence when providing professional services, which includes the duty to exercise good judgment and reasonable care and skill in the provision of advice. Additionally, they are required to possess a minimum standard of special knowledge and ability.

Professionals are not held to a standard of perfection. They are not required to use the highest degree of skill, but are expected to apply the degree of care which a normally skilled member of their profession may reasonably be expected to exercise. In determining whether a professional exercised reasonable skill and care, he or she will be judged by the standard of a reasonably competent practitioner of the same experience and standing.

A professional does not guarantee success or perfect results but only that he or she will use a reasonable degree of skill and competency and exercise reasonable care and his or her best judgment to achieve a good result.

Where a profession is stratified and areas of expertise are officially recognized, a specialist must display the standard of proficiency of an average specialist in his or her field. He or she is expected to possess and exercise a higher degree of skill in his or her particular specialty than would be expected of a general practitioner in that field.

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