Can I Sue My Accountant For Professional Negligence?
If the actions of your accountant have led you to experience damage to your business, reputation or have left you out of pocket, you may be wondering “Can I sue my accountant for professional negligence”.
The short answer is yes, you can sue your accountant for professional negligence but you must be able to satisfy certain legal criteria to prove their actions were negligent. To sue an accountant for professional negligence you should contact a solicitor specialising in professional negligence claims for legal advice as soon as you think you have a case.
At Hattons Law we have a team dedicated to investigating and securing professional negligence claims on behalf of our clients in and around the North West of England.
If your accountant has done something, or failed to do something that has led you to suffer loss or damage during the course of providing a service to you or your business then they may have been professionally negligent and you could have cause to sue.
Discuss your case with a lawyer
When Should You Consider Suing An Accountant?
Regulated and qualified accountants are worth their weight in gold to small business owners, sole traders and those with complex tax affairs. They work with you to ensure you remain compliant, meet reporting deadlines and provide advice but when should you consider suing an accountant?
Suing is a serious action that should never be taken lightly. You should only consider suing an accountant if you have genuinely suffered a loss due to their direct actions or advice in handling your affairs and delivering services on your behalf.
You should always act as soon as you become aware there is a case against your accountant as the standard timeframe to bring professional negligence claims is within six years of the event or the time you became aware of the problem.
Suing an accountant or any other professional service provider means you are instigating legal proceedings against an individual or a company with the intention of recovering money in compensation for loss or damage you have suffered at their hands.
Find Out More: Can I Sue For Professional Negligence
When Is An Accountant Professionally Negligent?
Rarely do accountants set out to be negligent but because of the vast array of services accountants can provide to businesses and individuals, there are plenty of opportunities to get things wrong.
There is an implied duty to act with reasonable care and skill when engaging professional service providers for help. Your accountant is expected to provide you with advice that is in your best interests and typically it’s the advice given by accountants that will be the cause of a negligence claim.
If you have received negligent advice from your accountant then you may want to start discussions with the expert team at Hattons to help you establish if you can recover your losses.
To pursue a professional negligence claim you will need to work with us to be able to:
- Show that you have experienced loss or damages due to the advice of your accountant
- Show instances where your accountant has failed to perform their services to the required standard and has caused you to suffer a loss as a result
- Show you had a contract in place for the services they provide and the associated responsibilities.
- Show that your accountant breached their duty of service
What Happens When You Sue An Accountant For Professional Negligence?
When you contact a solicitor with the intention of suing your accountant for professional negligence, there are standard procedures that must be followed. This approach ensures that the claim is managed fairly, effectively and lawfully for both sides and gives you the best chance of winning compensation for the losses you have suffered.
- The first thing your lawyer will do is to ascertain if you have a valid claim for professional negligence against your accountant. To do this they will work with you to establish the facts and timeline of the claim in question in order to assess if it can meet the legal test of negligence.
- If a duty of care was breached and if a lawyer can prove that the reported loss was caused by the negligent act or advice given by your accountant then there is a case for professional negligence and your legal team will be required to comply with the ‘Professional Negligence Pre-Action Protocol (the “Protocol”).
- The Procol is a series of statutory communications between you the claimant and your accountant that must be actioned and responded to by each side within a set timeframe. This framework allows for the most efficient and cost effective handling of the case.
- During this process your legal team will clearly communicate the claim, damages sought and legal basis for the claim. The service provider being sued is then required to provide a Letter of Response in which they can either admit the claim and make a proposal for a settlement, or dispute the claim.
- Any claim made will cover the damages suffered and will be calculated from the date of the service breach that led to the losses being incurred. The value of the damages should put you into the position that you would have been in if the negligence hadn’t occurred.
- If a settlement cannot be reached using the protocol then court proceedings will be issued.
Accountants are highly skilled professionals that offer many very important services to their clients. From tax returns, payroll, invoice management and dealing with complex tax affairs, every business owner and individual looking to keep on top of their money management and tax liabilities should consider using a reliable and reputable accountant.
When the services your account delivers fall below the standard and quality required causing you to suffer a loss or damage then they may have been professionally negligent and you are within your rights to sue for professional negligence.
The key things to take away from this article if you are considering suing an accountant for professional negligence are:
You must make your claim as soon as you become aware of the loss or damage incurred or within six years but there are options to extend this limitation in certain circumstances.
If you think you have a case to sue your accountant for professional negligence you should seek the advice of a professional negligence lawyer like those at Hattons Solicitors as soon as you can in order to discuss the merits of your case and the options available to you.
Find Out More
To discuss suing your accountant for professional negligence and find out more about the damages you could be able to claim, please use our contact form to get in touch or call 01744 744400 to speak to our specialist professional negligence Lawyers today. We will work with you to understand your case in depth in order to work towards securing the best outcome possible for you.
Hattons Solicitors is based in St Helens, Merseyside and the firm has been providing efficient, affordable and high quality legal services to members of the public and the wider business community since 2001. Professional excellence and quality of work is reinforced by our Law Society Lexcel Accreditation, and membership to the Law Society. Our friendly team will always listen to you and your needs before working with you to deliver the best approach that best meets your needs.Posted on: 11/Sep/2020 Posted in: Professional Negligence