The below articles are only basic guidelines.
Please contact Scorpion Legal Protection for more information.
Professional negligence is when a professional person (such as a doctor, builder, architect, or financial advisor) neglects their duty of care. Duty of care refers to the professional person’s legal obligation to ensure the safety or wellbeing of others.
Proving the case
To claim professional negligence, you will need to prove that the professional had a duty of care, and that that duty of care was not met. The duty of care is the standard that a reasonable person would expect from the service being rendered. For instance: If you hire an architect to draw plans to add a room to your house, any reasonable person would assume that his duty of care includes making sure that the structure is sound, complies with building standards, and can fulfil the purpose it is intended for. If the extra room doesn’t live up to these requirements, and the architect has not taken the necessary building and safety regulations into account, it will cost you more money to fix the problems. In this case, most reasonable people will agree that it is a case of professional negligence.
Another form of professional negligence occurs when an injured person instructs an attorney to lodge a claim for their injuries with the Road Accident Fund. An attorney has three years to lodge a claim with the RAF if the vehicle is identified. If the vehicle is unidentified, this is commonly referred to as a hit and run. In this case, an attorney has only two years to lodge your claim.
If your attorney fails to lodge your claim within this time, you may have a case of professional negligence against the attorney. Should this happen to you, then you need to urgently seek legal advice from another attorney to proceed with a case of professional negligence against the first attorney.
You can claim damages from the first attorney, provided that your claim meets the necessary requirements of the RAF Act. In certain instances, you can also report the attorney to the Law Society in the area where the attorney is practicing
In order to make a claim, you will need to prove that the professional in question has indeed neglected his or her duty of care. To do this, you need to keep records of the incident. This could include quotes, invoices, photos, medical bills, as well as any correspondence between you and the professional in question. The more proof you have to substantiate your claim, the better your chances of winning the case.
In the case with the architect, it will also be a good idea to get quotes, or to correct the mistakes of the first architect so you know exactly what the monetary extent of your claim is.
Spaces used by the public, including roads, pavements, government buildings, and train stations, fall under the municipality’s jurisdiction and, as such, should be kept in a safe condition by the particular municipality. It is the municipality’s responsibility to ensure the safety of the people who use these public spaces. For instance, if trenches are being dug to lay new cables, there needs to be proper warning signs and demarcations to keep the public out of harm’s way. If you were to fall into an unmarked ditch and injure yourself, you may very well have a case to make against the municipality.
If you feel that you have been the victim of professional negligence, you need to obtain urgent legal advice on the way forward and whether to proceed with legal action against the professional. Legal Protection assists policyholders in determining the way forward with their cases. To find out more about Scorpion Legal Protection, SMS “SUN” to 34453 and we’ll call you back. Terms and conditions apply; SMSs charged at R1,50.
(Please note: This is only general advice and should not be relied on solely. The law is complicated and there are many influencing factors that can change the above).
Date added: 10 November 2016