For hundreds of years we have come to rely upon the services of "professionals" whom we trust to have the necessary specialist expertise to help us.
Accountants, Doctors, Dentists, Lawyers, Vets, the list is considerable and, for the most part these highly qualified and therefore highly paid individuals do a great job for us. They help us pay less tax, stay healthy, look after our teeth, buy our homes, sort out failing relationships, look after our pets, and a thousand and one other things. If you think about it, most people would be lost without them.
The problem comes when one or more of them let us down. It can be a bit of a shock if we find out, but sometimes we might not even realise that a mistake has been made. Few of us have a sufficient understanding of what our professionals do and the rules under which they operate to make that decision. Even the language they speech seems to have been designed to keep us lay people in the dark.
At some point, we might start to think that something has gone a bit wrong. Frequently this will happen when we are hit with a fine or costs that we weren't expecting. In the past we might have just accepted this as we were unaware that there was even a possibility of claiming against one of these professionals.
Today it's a very different story, the media regularly reports on high profile professional negligence claims and so we are much more aware of the possibility. So if you have a suspicion that one of your professional advisors has been negligent what can you do?
The first thing to do is act quickly. A lot of professional negligence claims have fixed timescales and if the claim is not begun within a certain time, you will not be eligible to claim compensation even if there has been a serious mistake on the part of the professional that has caused you significant losses. The internet is littered with examples of otherwise perfectly valid claims that were never resolved purely because the plaintiff delayed too long before making a professional negligence claim.
Secondly, you should consult a professional. The proverb 'set a thief to catch a thief' might be a little harsh, but there is an element of truth in it. Find a solicitor who specialises in professional negligence claims. The good professionals will give you an initial assessment and advise you whether you have a potential case to make a claim.
Assuming that they believe you have a valid claim they will then help you to explore the potential options for funding the costs associated with your claim. Legal fees are not cheap but you may already have insurance in place that may cover the costs. If insurance is not an option they will lay out the alternatives and they may even be able to offer you a "no win no fee option" in some circumstances.
In summary, we rely on our professionals in many areas of our lives but just because they are "qualified" it doesn't mean they are infallible. If their mistakes lead to significant losses for you as their client then you have the right to make a professional negligence claim.