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What constitutes professional negligence?

On Behalf of | Jul 10, 2024 | Professional Negligence

People turn to educated and licensed professionals in a variety of different situations. The average person doesn’t understand tax law and may not enjoy doing complex mathematical calculations. They hire an accountant to file their income tax returns and manage their investments.

People rely on professionals to guide them when they buy real estate or navigate complicated legal matters. When people hire licensed and educated professionals, they expect to receive appropriate professional support. Most professionals are eager to do the best that they can for their clients. After all, word of mouth is often the best advertisement possible for a professional practice. Many of those clients could become repeat customers.

Sadly, some professionals do not conform to industry standards or client expectations. They might provide advice or make choices that lead to legal setbacks or major financial losses. Sometimes, clients can take legal action if they can show that a professional did something negligent and inappropriate. How can clients identify professional negligence?

Negligence goes against what reasonable professionals are expected do

In the legal world, negligence refers to doing something obviously unsafe or failing to do something necessary for safety. The basic standard for negligence is what another reasonable person would do. In cases involving professional negligence, disappointed clients don’t compare a professional’s actions to the choices of the average person.

Instead, they look at what another professional in the same industry might do in that situation. Consulting with an unaffiliated physician is often the first step when developing a medical malpractice claim, for example. Another accountant or investment professional could provide valuable insight into what industry standards are and what other reasonable professionals might do in the same situation.

Provided that other professionals can easily identify the mistakes or failures of a licensed professional, a client affected by their errors and omissions might have grounds for a civil lawsuit.

How professional negligence lawsuits work

A client harmed by the mistakes and negligence of a professional can potentially file a civil lawsuit. Doing so may prompt a response from that professional’s insurance provider. Many professionals carry malpractice or errors and omissions insurance coverage. Their policies can pay for claims brought by frustrated clients and those harmed by their professional failures. Insurance companies sometimes offer settlements to keep cases out of court. Other times, they pay to reimburse those who succeed in filing a lawsuit against a professional.

Recognizing professional negligence can help people seek justice when a professional they’ve hired has not provided the services for which they paid. The process often begins by talking with a lawyer about what a professional did or failed to do and how it affected someone’s finances and daily life.