The Professional Negligence Pre-Action Protocol
The Professional Negligence Pre-Action Protocol was introduced to streamline the process for individuals who are pursuing claims against professionals like lawyers, surveyors and tax advisers.
This is because it offers an alternative in cases where there isn’t already specific protocol available that applies specifically to your case; by way of example this would be applicable with respect to architects or engineers but not others such as solicitors (a solicitor), contractors etc.
It is the last resort for claimants who have been unable to settle their case without going through court proceedings. The Practice Direction on Pre-Action Conduct from England and Wales’ Courts states “starting proceedings should usually be a step of last resort.”
The Protocol is designed to help resolve all of the issues between parties quickly and efficiently. It does this through identifying relevant evidence in correspondence, giving both sides an opportunity for mediation or arbitration before court proceedings are issued if necessary so that cases can be resolved without dragging on indefinitely!
The Process instructs the parties to follow certain procedures, as well as a timetable for completing them:
Once a claimant becomes aware that he or she may wish to make an insurance claim, they should send the defendant’s professional indemnity insurer a short letter stating their intentions.
The information included in this initial communication will differ depending on why you contacted your own company the more specific details about what happened are important for clarification before moving forward together!
Letter of Acknowledgement
It’s unfortunate when we receive a letter like this and find out that our client has been in an accident. The defendant should acknowledge receipt of the communication within 21 days, but he is not required to take any further action at this stage; however it would be wise for him do gather all relevant evidence so as not miss anything important!
Letter of Claim
The Letter of Claim should be prepared by the claimant once his investigations are complete and it is possible to set out comprehensive details.
A letter of claim sets out a clear chronology of the circumstances surrounding your case as well as legal argument that will be relied upon in support. It should also identify any documents or other evidence used to prove your point, including expert testimony if available.(Pre-Action Protocol)
The Letter of Claim should set out how much money was lost, if it is not yet possible to quantify the financial loss, or what method will be used to calculate it if it is not. The claimant should ask the defendant to forward a copy of the letter to its professional indemnity insurers.
Letter of Acknowledgement
Within 21 days of receiving the Letter of Claim, the defendant or its representatives should acknowledge receipt.
Letter of Response
The defendant should consider and respond to the claimant’s claims, including investigating them thoroughly.
All correspondence with responding parties should be conducted within three months of the date that their Letter Of Acknowledgement was (or should have been) provided. If you will not able to respond within this timescale, please contact us and we’ll try our best for an extension on your response time!
You should receive a response within 30 days of filing your claim. If the denial is for any reason other than “No Record”, then they will provide more information about why this happened and what records are available to support their side of story, if anything at all! (Pre-Action Protocol)
Letter of Settlement
If the defendant decides to make a settlement offer, it must also submit a Letter of Settlement with the Letter of Response.
If the Letter of Response is a full denial of the claim and there is no Letter of Settlement, the claimant can go to court.
Negotiation is always the best way to settle any dispute. The letter of acknowledgement should serve as an opportunity for you and your client/partner so that both parties can become more knowledgeable about one another’s needs, wants or desires without starting off on bad footing because there are no misunderstandings in place yet! (Pre-Action Protocol)