What Is Professional Negligence: Full Guide

Professional negligence occurs when professional advice or services don’t meet the required standard of care and cause loss, damage or injury to their clients. Professional negligence can take many forms and is often a complex area of law.

In this guide, we will look at professional negligence in more detail and explore what it means, its signs, how it differs from professional malpractice, as well as outlining your legal recourse if you feel you have been subjected to professional negligence.

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What Is Professional Negligence?

Professional negligence occurs when professional advice or service fails to meet an expected standard of care and results in the client suffering financial loss, damage or injury. This could be due to poor professional judgement, substandard service, inadequate knowledge or skill, professional incompetence or a breach of professional duty.

It could also involve professional negligence if a professional fails to advise their clients on the risks involved in taking certain courses of action, provide inadequate advice, omit important facts or neglect to act promptly. Professional negligence is not limited to just financial advisors and lawyers, but can also be claimed against accountants, architects, planners, engineers and any other professional providing services for a fee.

Signs of Professional Negligence

When assessing whether professional negligence has occurred it’s important to look out for the following signs:

– Failure to properly follow procedures that are required by an industry standard

– Providing incorrect or incomplete information

– Failing to give adequate advice when it’s needed

– Failing to take appropriate steps to mitigate potential risks

– Making decisions without considering all of the facts/options

– Not responding in a timely manner to queries or requests.

How Is Professional Negligence Different From Professional Malpractice?

The terms professional negligence and professional malpractice are often used interchangeably but there is a difference between them. Professional negligence describes the professional failing to comply with the required standard of care, whereas professional malpractice implies that the professional has acted deliberately and intentionally, with malicious intent. In some cases, professional malpractice can be considered more serious than professional negligence as it involves intentional misconduct.

What Are Your Options When Dealing With Professional Negligence Claims?

When professional negligence has occurred and it has resulted in financial loss, damage or injury to a client, the professional can be held liable. The client may have the option of bringing a professional negligence claim against that professional to seek compensation for their losses sustained. In addition to this, a professional can also be disciplined by their professional body if they are found to be negligent in their duties.


The bottom line is professional negligence is serious and should not be taken lightly. If you think that you may have been subjected to professional negligence then it’s important to speak with an experienced professional negligence lawyer who can advise you on your legal options.