We are all entitled to expect any qualified specialist we engage to provide a professional service, worthy of the price being charged and with the expertise with which they hold themselves out. On some occasions however an expert may fall below the skill which should have been provided. If that has caused a person damage or financial loss, they may be entitled to a remedy and the professional is answerable for this. When things go wrong that shouldn’t or clients are inappropriately or carelessly advised, then the consequences can be financially disastrous.
Professionals such as accountants, stockbrokers, financial advisers, lawyers and engineers, just to name a few, owed duties to their clients. Those duties are to exercise reasonable care founded in contract and tort (negligence). They are required to do what a reasonably competent practitioner would do having regards to the standards normally adopted in the particular profession. If the conduct falls short of the standard which the public has been led to expect and leads to loss, then this wrong can be actionable. These claims are generally described as professional negligence but can be based in contract or in negligence and potentially also breaches of trust.
Each year our firm handles disputes and advise our clients in relation to such matters and which have led to many claims in the District and Supreme Courts.
Quite often, the disputes themselves can arise not out of complicated transactions involving difficult concepts but rather, most of the time, the professional has simply taken their ‘eye off the ball’ and it is more than usual the simple mistakes that can lead to such economic loss. That’s not always the case, however and there are many situations that are indeed complex.
Some examples have included:
The District Courts in Queensland have jurisdiction to hear such claims when the amount in dispute is between $150,000 and $750,000 and the Supreme Court hears claims when the amount is above $750,000. Claims for damages for breach of contract and negligence need to be commenced within 6 years from the date the cause of action arises. If they are not, the action will not be maintainable. As such, you should not delay considering your rights.
If you believe you have sustained some significant loss and would like to discuss your options or obtain some formal advice, contact Robert Aitken from our office for a discussion.
The information given here is not intended to be legal advice. If you believe you have any rights against a professional, you should consider obtaining legal advice and not delaying this as you may lose your rights.