Whilst everyone and their brother are claiming for injury after car accidents these days (claims have risen 70% in 6 years according to this article). The reason for this of course is that it is easy money, car accidents are relatively common and for the claimant it is low risk.
But in the meantime, what if you suffer a real loss due to negligence of some professional on whom you rely? This does happen, but it is often hard to prove, and hence can be risky to pursue.
If you want to claim, you must ensure that you have a good case in order to reduce your risks, since a failed case can cost a lot and if you are not careful those costs can be your responsibility.
Is It Negligence?
With medical negligence for instance, you may not even be sure whether it is negligence or just mis-fortune, after-all, most people are not experts.
There is a simple but tricky definition of negligence:
A person has acted negligently if he or she has departed from the conduct expected of a reasonably prudent person acting under similar circumstances.
The tricky part is deciding what is reasonable. Given a choice of actions a surgeon might choose what turns out to be the wrong action, but if they made the decision as best they could with the available information, it isn’t necessarily negligence.
Costs To You
In any case you will also have to show costs. So if you have been given bad advice for instance, you will need to demonstrate that having been given better (not necessarily the best, just non-negligent) advice would have made you better off.
If the surgeon in our above example had chosen the alternative course – would that have likely resulted in a better outcome? Or is there every chance that it would have made little difference?
Keeping Your Costs Low
The best course of action if you think you have a claim is normally to speak to a professional and you may be able to find a no-win no-fee solicitor to do so. But remember that such solicitors will be taking on part or all of the risk.
Ensure that your case has strong evidence to back it up – this will maximise your chances of a claim being taken on. But whatever you do, find out what your own risks are in the event that your case doesn’t succeed.