A professional negligence claim against a personal injury solicitor and barrister has been rejected by the High Court.
The claim had been brought by an injured pedestrian who thought her compensation claim had been under-settled by her lawyers.
The personal injury claim was settled for £12,000 shortly before trial. The claimant, who had suffered a serious head injury, believed that her claim had a much higher value.
The claimant was advised to settle her claim by her solicitors and her barrister. The advice was given after it was discovered that a key witness would not be able to attend the hearing. The barrister said that an application could be made for an adjournment but there was no certainty that the judge would agree. If the trial went ahead then the claimant faced appreciable risks and might have received nothing.
In the subsequent professional negligence claim against the personal injury solicitor and barrister, the claimant’s lawyers denied putting pressure on her to settle the claim. The judge accepted this, commenting that the barrister would have fought the trial if he believed there were reasonable prospects of success. He also noted there was likely to be a significant finding of contributory negligence on the claimant’s part which would have reduced the value of the claim materially. It was therefore better that the claimant got something rather than nothing at all; even if it wasn’t as much as she had been hoping for.
Accordingly the court concluded that the lawyers had not been negligent and dismissed the professional negligence claim.
This case serves as a timely reminder that professional negligence claims will be closely scrutinised by the courts and the burden rests with the party bringing the claim to show that their solicitors have acted in breach of their duty of care.
Although in this instance the professional negligence claim was not successful, the number of enquiries we are receiving about under-settled personal injury claims is on the increase.
If you feel your personal injury lawyer has let you down and that your case has been lost or undersettled as a result then please call our FREE helpline on 0808 139 1606.
If the financial loss suffered as a result of the negligence exceeds the small claims court limit (currently £10,000 – March 2018) then we shall be happy to consider No Win, No Fee funding.
For more information about making a professional negligence claim against personal injury lawyers please visit our specialist website, www.proneg.co.uk
And for additional information about head injury claims visit http://www.headinjurylaw.co.uk