Professional negligence claims may be filed against surveyors, architects, engineers, solicitors, dentists, doctors, blood banks, attorneys, accountants, and other financial advisers. Professional negligence cases have shown an increase in recent years due to the public’s increasing reliance on professional advice. In addition, new laws and economic changes have made many professionals’ jobs more complex. Professionals who are not maintaining an updated knowledge on current laws or impending changes are not only neglecting the success of their careers, but they are neglecting their clients by providing them with outdated professional advice.
Variation of Professional Opinion
It is important to recognize that many professional fields allows for a certain degree of opinion. For example, there has been an increase in allegations of property valuation negligence. The valuation process for each commercial or personal property does not supply precise answers. In court, the typical legal approach is to identify a set range of acceptable values for the property in question. As long as the valuer’s quote falls within the designated range, the valuer will not be found negligent.
Do You Have a Professional Negligence Case? Orlando Negligence Claims
First, it is important to identify whether or not a case of professional negligence exists. A successful professional negligence claimant will need to provide evidence that a professional owed the claimant a duty of care. Next, the claimant will have to prove that the duty of care was breached. A professional duty of care is a broad term that describes a certain standard of expectations within that field. A consumer engages a professional, so that a duty of care is owed, by signing a contract for the explicitly requested consultation. A consumer may also engage a professional through duty arising out of tort law.
Breached Duty of Care
For example, if a consumer hires an architect to build an office, a contract will be drawn up and signed by both parties. After the contract is signed, the architect designs a three-story building without allowing for an adequate foundation to support the full height of the building. As a result, the architect has breached a professional duty of care and may be held liable for professional negligence.
Once a breach of professional duty of care has been established and evidenced, it will be necessary to prove that this breach of duty caused harm to the professional negligence claimant. It must be proven in court that the breach of duty directly correlates with the damages suffered by the claimant. For example, if a financial advisor breaches duty by providing inadequate financial advice, the claimant must have experienced a negative outcome through use of this negligent financial advice. If it is found that the financial advisor supplied faulty advice, but that the claimant failed to use the faulty financial advice, then the financial advisor will not be found guilty of professional negligence.
In some cases, the negligent professional may claim contributory negligence in defense. Contributory negligence implies that the professional negligence claimant also played a role in the negligent acts. For example, the claimant may have supplied faulty financial information to a financial advisor. As a result, the financial advisor was unable to perform his or her job correctly.
Professional Negligence Time Limitations
Although statutes of limitations and other professional negligence laws may vary from state to state, there are time limitations for all professional negligence cases. Typically, professional negligence victims are required to file a claim within six years of the professional’s negligent actions. In certain cases, this time limit has been extended due to the fact that some professional negligence cases may only become apparent after a more extended period of time. In these special professional negligence cases, the victim must file his or her professional negligence claim within three years of discovering the problem. For all cases, there is a 15-year maximum time limit to file a professional negligence claim. This is commonly referred to as a “long-stop date.”
Florida. Supreme Court. STANDARD JURY INSTRUCTIONS – CIVIL CASES. Tallahassee, Print. <http://www.floridasupremecourt.org/civ_jury_instructions/instructions.shtml>.
Rao, S. “Medical negligence liability under the consumer protection act: A review of judicial perspective.” National Center for Biotechnology Information. 2009. <http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2779962/>.