The following professional negligence case studies show how Donoghue Solicitors can help you with your professional negligence claims.
Click here for more information about professional negligence, complete the online form on this page, or call 08000 124 206 for help with your claim.
Work Accident Professional Negligence Case Studies
This professional negligence case study is about Roy Senior. That is not our client’s real name but all other details in this case study are accurate.
Roy, of Colchester, Essex, instructed Donoghue Solicitors to sue his former solicitors for compensation after they represented him in his accident at work claim.
Mr. Senior, a former police officer, was 63 at the time of the accident.
He was working as a hotel porter when he slipped and fell on a greasy, upward sloping path. He injured his left foot and broke his big toe. It was a nasty accident, after which Roy later had a bone fusion operation. Even with surgery the primary injuries took more than two years to resolve.
He has been left with a rigid big toe which affects his balance so that he needs to use a walking stick in wet or icy conditions. The toe is also more vulnerable to the cold and wet weather. (Not ideal when living in England.) Roy also suffered shock and ongoing anxiety.
Mr. Senior had to take five weeks off work and needed help with domestic chores, bathing etc., as well as errands and trips to the doctors. He also had many other expenses for things like prescriptions, painkillers etc.
Roy instructed his former solicitors because they were a big firm and he thought he would get a better service. He was wrong.
Initially, things went well. The solicitors gave Roy’s case to a (presumably unqualified) ‘Executive’ within the firm. She sent details of his claim to the hotel’s insurers who admitted liability before proceedings, ‘subject to causation and medical evidence’.
He was medically examined by an orthopaedic surgeon who prepared a medical report. In it the doctor accepted that the accident caused Roy’s injuries and ongoing problems, recommended the surgery which Mr. Senior later had, and noted that he would now be disadvantaged in the labour market.
Mr. Senior co-operated fully with the Executive throughout and provided the details she requested of his care and assistance claim, which she then valued at £1302.
Adding lost earnings and other expenses, Roy’s total claim for ‘special damages’ (quantifiable losses) was £2,175.71.
Once this evidence was in place Roy’s former solicitors forwarded it to the hotel’s insurers with the medical report and asked for an offer to settle the claim.
The insurers offered £3,873.71, broken down as £3,000 for personal injuries (known as ‘PSLA’, or pain, suffering, and loss of amenity), and £873.71 for special damages, apparently refusing to offer anything for the care and assistance part of the claim.
Quite rightly, Roy rejected their offer.
The insurers raised their offer by £1,000 (to £4,873.71) which the Executive at his former solicitors told him was reasonable. She advised Roy to accept it; reluctantly he did.
Roy had second thoughts about whether he had received a fair settlement after he had received the cheque, and got a more senior person in the firm to review the case.
They agreed that it had been under-settled, particularly with respect to the personal injury element of the claim, and offered to pay him an extra £3,000, valuing the full claim at £7,873.71.
Mr. Senior suspected that he might have a claim for professional negligence so he instructed Kevin Donoghue, solicitor director of Donoghue Solicitors, to review their offer and how they handled his case generally.
Negligence Claims Against Former Solicitors
Kevin Donoghue contacted Mr. Senior’s former solicitors and reviewed their file.
He took Roy’s full instructions and reviewed the claim to establish the extent of the professional negligence.
He explained to Mr. Senior that there is no compensation payable in itself for the former solicitor’s negligence.
Instead, the issue Kevin had to address was:
‘But for the former solicitor’s negligence, what would Roy have received for his claim?’
(You can read why on the ‘what is professional negligence?‘ page.)
Kevin agreed to represent Roy on a professional negligence no win no fee basis and investigate further.
Valuing Professional Negligence Claims
He wanted to know:
- why the personal injury (PSLA) claim had been undervalued by the Executive initially;
- why the insurers had apparently refused to offer any compensation for Roy’s care and assistance or for the disadvantage in the labour market; and
- why Roy’s former solicitors now valued his case at £7,873.71, and why they felt that offering £3,000 would settle the claim.
Negligence Claims Set Out in a Letter
Following a full review, in accordance with the professional negligence Pre-Action Protocol, Mr. Donoghue submitted details of Roy’s professional negligence claim to his former solicitors.
He alleged that they had:
- undervalued Roy’s personal injury claim, particularly by not taking into account the shock and ongoing psychological problems;
- failed to properly calculate or explore his care and assistance claim, ignoring the need for help with things like DIY due to ongoing problems, and Roy’s need for more help after surgery;
- ignored the claim for disadvantage in the labour market, despite the medical expert including details of it in his report.
In response, Roy’s former solicitors were defensive and now argued that he would have had difficulties proving his claim, so that his ‘loss of chance’ (see here for an explanation) reduced the amount they would have to pay.
Mr. Donoghue anticipated that Roy would have received £10,000 if everything had gone his way at court originally. So his potential loss was £5,126.29.
The former solicitors increased their offer to £4750 on a ‘Part 36’ basis, valuing the full amount of his claim at £9623.71. This meant that Roy was now at risk as, if he went to trial and failed to beat that offer, he would have to pay legal costs.
Sensibly, he decided to accept that offer, which was only £376.29 less than the full valuation, and not worth risking thousands over at court.
Roy did not need to attend court or travel to make his professional negligence claim. Everything was done by email, phone, and letter.
(N.B. This claim was settled before the small claims limit was raised to £10,000. Roy’s legal costs were dealt with as part of the settlement. Read our professional negligence FAQs for an explanation about why we can now only take cases worth £15,000 or more.)
Help With Suing a Solicitor
After reading these professional negligence case studies, contact Kevin Donoghue, solicitor, for help on 08000 124 246, or complete the online form on this page.
We specialise in professional negligence claims against civil litigation solicitors in England and Wales. If suitable, we act as professional negligence no win no fee solicitors.
For other professional negligence claims we suggest you go to the Law Society’s Find a Solicitor website.
We can help if your civil litigation solicitor:
- under-settled your compensation claim;
- missed deadlines so you lost your right to claim compensation; or
- lost your case as a result of their professional negligence.
If you want help suing a solicitor for negligence call 08000 124 246 or complete the online form on this page.
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