Professional negligence claims are largely unavoidable if it weren’t for the fact that there’s a rising tide of professionals who are acting in ways that are the exact opposite of that word.
Negligence claims are based on the premise that qualified professionals should deal with clients in a way that’s professional, skillful, and considerate at all times. Of course, this makes room for human error because mistakes happen, and in such instances, that’s not considered negligence.
But in instances where professional negligence can be proven, this could spell the end of one’s career or it could put a pretty massive dent on it.
Here’s how surveyors, doctors, engineers, accountants, solicitors, and other professionals can avoid a professional negligence claim:
- Keep Records of Everything
It’s important to keep an updated and accurate record of all professional appointments and events because you never know when you might get hit with a professional negligence claim.
This includes all documents and email correspondence from the time you started practicing your profession.
- Don’t Work Outside Your Field
In addition to keeping a minimum 6+ year paper trail, it’s beneficial to stick to your lane when it comes to practicing your work.
Avoid fulfilling requests or performing actions that are outside of your scope of expertise as that could land you in big trouble if you make even the tiniest mistake.
Sure, it might seem like a good thing to help a client out by doing something extra, but that’s the same client who will sue you if something goes wrong.
- Keep Realistic Expectations
Again, manage expectations and clearly state to your client what you can and cannot accomplish so that they know what to expect.
Have this documented in writing as well so that everyone involved is well aware of your abilities and what you’re not willing to do.
Once boundaries have been established, it’ll be much easier to manage expectations in the long run and avoid false accusations of professional negligence.
- Let Clients Know What You Need
Part of maintaining a proper client-professional relationship is managing expectations and making sure that you have all the information you need to do your job properly.
Everything should be in writing, and this includes having a record of telephone conversations. You should always be taking notes when speaking to your client so you have an up to date record of everything.
- Get Professional Indemnity Insurance
Professional indemnity insurance can really come in handy should you have a negligence claim bought against you successfully.
This will provide you with protection so that you don’t have to pay out of pocket for the settlement claim.
Depending on your state, you might be required to take out indemnity insurance from the time you open.
- Don’t Promise More Than You Can Deliver
This goes back to staying in your line. If you can tell that you won’t be able to meet the deadline or the project will take you outside of your jurisdiction then you might be setting yourself up for failure.
Should a mistake really happen because you tried to push your business out of its limits, then you’ll have to take liability for your actions.