Can I claim damages for Solicitors Negligence?
It's important to realise from the outset that proving a Solicitors Negligence claim can be extremely difficult.
In order to succeed with a Solicitors Negligence claim it is usually necessary to show that the solicitor has behaved in a way that no reasonable professional would have done. (Bolam v Friern Hospital Management Committee  1 WLR 582)
But this is where we may be able to help. We have been successfully representing clients in Solicitors Negligence claims for many years.
Your solicitor has a legal duty to exercise a reasonable standard of professional care when representing you.
Your solicitor usually also has a contract with you, and it will be an express or implied term of the contract that they should conduct matters with reasonable care.
If your lawyers fail to meet the necessary standard of care you may be able to a Solicitors Negligence claim to recover damages for any losses that you have suffered as a result of their mistake.
How do I claim?
We will be able to tell you during the first call whether or not your solicitors negligence claims is worth pursuing.
If you decide to go ahead we will aim to meet you face-to-face as soon as we have seen all your papers – Professional negligence cases are often complex, with large numbers of documents to consider, so there is no substitute for a face-to-face meeting to get the case started properly.
The Pre-Action Protocol for Professional Negligence Claims ("the protocol") sets out detailed rules which both sides have to follow before considering any court proceedings.
The protocol encourages a "cards on the table" approach, and insists that the parties regard court proceedings as a last resort.
We will prepare a very detailed Letter of Claim to the negligent solicitor, providing them with a full account of what happened, why you think they are at fault and an outline valuation of the case. We will attach copies of all the material documents in support of your case to the Letter of Claim.
The protocol encourages both sides in a Solicitors Negligence claim to settle the case without court proceedings if possible, and we are able to settle quite a high proportion of of our clients' claims without the need for court proceedings.
If the solicitors refuse to admit their negligence, or refuse to negotiate sensibly, we will arrange to meet with a barrister who specialises in Solicitors Negligence claims, and we will advise you about the issue of court proceedings.
We are very experienced in the conduct of court proceedings in Solicitors Negligence cases.
And even when it is necessary to sue a solicitor the vast majority of our Solicitors Negligence cases are settled on favourable terms long before we ever get to a trial.
Steps you should take right now
Make a note of your version of events, and the details of anyone who you think may be able to provide helpful information to support your case. It will help you get things clear in your mind, and make it easier for you to explain your case to us.
Try to put the letters, evidence and other papers in date order, which will make it easier for you and us to work through them.
Contact us for some free initial advice as soon as possible.
We will be able to tell you very quickly whether or not you have reasonable prospects for pursuing a Solicitors Negligence claim.
It is important to investigate a proposed solicitors negligence case as soon as possible, while you still remember the details clearly, and before any important documents are lost or destroyed.
How much could I get?
The value of each Solicitors Negligence case depends upon the extent of any losses suffered by the client, and the strength of the evidence which is available in support of the claim.
Settlements in recent Solicitors Negligence cases at Mulderrigs have ranged between £15,000 to £500,000.
We tend not to take on cases where the value of the claim is less than £15,000.
Valuing the “Lost Chance”
It may seem odd, but a Solicitors Negligence claim for a messed up court action (eg. A Personal Injury claim or a Divorce) doesn't involve a straightforward re-run of the original case.
The original case has gone for ever, and the true purpose of the Solicitors Negligence claim is to value of the “lost chance” of having had your case dealt with properly in the first place.
The court has to consider all the risks involved in the original claim (Did you have a good case? – Would you have been found partly to blame? – Would you have settled for less than the full amount if an early offer had been made? etc).
The court also then has to consider the risks involved in proving a difficult Solicitors Negligence claim.
In one of our recent cases, our client had to consider the following risks:
His original case was difficult – his chances of success were around 75%.
Even if he had won the original claim he would probably have been found 25% responsible for the accident in any event.
His Solicitors Negligence case was difficult, because not all the evidence was helpful to our client - The chances of success were around 50%.
So, although the original injury claim may have been worth up to£500,000, the “lost chance” calculation (£500,000 x 75% x 25%, x 50%) reduced the value of the claim to something more like £140,000, even before any negotiations with the Defendants started.
Inconvenience and Distress
Discovering that your solicitor has been negligent can be a very stressful and distressing business, especially if you then have to take legal action to put matters right, and pursuing a Solicitors Negligence claim can add to that stress.
But the court is unlikely to award you anything for distress and inconvenience, except in the most extreme circumstances.
If your Solicitors Negligence claim is successful the court is also likely to award any additional legal fees which are required in order to put matters right, along with an amount for interest.
How long does it take?
Solicitors Negligence cases often go on for a long time – sometimes a couple of years or more.
This is because these cases are often defended by solicitors and their insurers, and because there are usually a lot of documents and/or witness statements to be prepared in order to prove the case.
But we will get on with things as quickly as we can – We won’t receive any fees until your case is finished!
We will also keep an eye on any applicable time limits – In most cases of Solicitors Negligence against the time limit for suing a solicitor is six years after the negligent act.
(Please note this is purely a guide – we would need detailed information in order to identify the exact limitation date in your case).
How much will it cost?
If you ask us to deal with your Solicitors Negligence case we will discuss the fee arrangements clearly and carefully before asking you to sign our terms and conditions.
Although other fee arrangements are available, “no win no fee” is usually the best option for our clients.
There are no “upfront” fees, no hidden charges, and we will never leave you out of pocket.
Most importantly, if you lose the case you pay nothing at all.
We have been in business for over twenty-five years and we have never had a complaint from a client in relation to fees.
Why choose Mulderrigs for Solicitors Negligence?
We have been representing clients in Solicitors Negligence cases for over 20 years, and we have recovered millions of pounds in damages for our clients.
We are members of the Professional Negligence Lawyers Association (www.pnla.org.uk)
We promise to speak to you in plain English.
We’ll come to see you at a time and place that’s convenient for you.
We have held the Law Society’s LEXCEL quality mark since 2002, and in our most recent survey 97% of our clients described our service as good or excellent.
Wills & Probate and Solicitors Negligence
“Where there’s a Will there’s a relative!”
Solicitors Negligence claims relating to Wills and Probate are very common.
Solicitors who prepare wills have a duty to both the person making the will (the testator) and the beneficiaries.
In cases where there is any doubt about the mental capacity of an elderly or ill testator, the solicitor ought to follow the “golden rule” and obtain medical evidence to verify their mental capacity.
They should also carefully document their meeting with the testator and the instructions they receive.
Lawyers who fail to follow these routine steps often face Solicitors Negligence claims when a will is later challenged on the basis that the testator didn’t have mental capacity to give instructions, or where there is an allegation that the testator was subjected to undue influence.
Lawyers dealing with wills and probate also have a legal duty to act promptly on their instructions, and can face Solicitors Negligence claims if their failure to act promptly means that the testator dies after giving instructions but before a will can be executed, or where the solicitor’s delay has a significant impact on the value of the estate