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Misconduct vs Professional Negligence

Reasons to choose Wilson Browne

Many people use the terms misconduct and negligence interchangeably as if they mean the same thing. But legally, there are clear distinctions between the two.

Is Negligence Professional Misconduct?

Negligence occurs when someone injures someone else or causes loss to them because of their reckless or careless behaviour. It can come about due to a person’s lack of care for the consequences of their actions or when someone uses less care than you’d expect from a reasonable person.

Its legal definition is conduct that falls below the standard required to protect others against unreasonable risk of harm. Negligence is commonplace. It can occur in people’s everyday lives.

If, for example, you are involved in a road traffic accident, then this may be the result of someone else’s negligent driving.

However, negligence does not automatically involve professional misconduct. Professional misconduct gives rise to professional negligence, which is a  different type of negligence.

Professional Misconduct vs Negligence

Professional misconduct applies to regulated professions. It is a violation of the rules or boundaries set by the governing bodies of these professions.

Examples of professions where professional misconduct can arise include:

  • Doctors, nurses, and other healthcare professionals
  • Solicitors
  • Accountants
  • Financial advisers
  • Teachers
  • Architects
  • Engineers
  • Surveyors

Where the behaviour of a professional person falls short of the standards you should expect a reasonable person in this position to uphold, this may amount to professional misconduct.

There are many different examples of professional misconduct, such as:

  • Failing to meet standards of practice
  • Failing to meet professional obligations
  • Breaching confidentiality
  • Failing to share information with a client
  • Failing to gain a patient’s consent
  • Poor record-keeping
  • Abusive behaviour
  • Conflicts of interest
  • Misrepresentation

When Can You Claim for Professional Negligence?

If you use or experience a professional service, then you should expect a reasonable standard of skill or care from the professional person providing it.

If the service you receive falls below this reasonable standard, resulting in a loss or injury to you, then you may be able to claim for professional negligence. You may have been the victim of professional negligence if a professional you’ve hired has failed in their duty of care towards you, their client.

The person you’re claiming against should have requisite skills and knowledge that someone not in their industry wouldn’t have. If the service or work they’ve carried out falls below that of a professional in the same industry with similar skills and knowledge, this can also amount to professional misconduct.

What your claim must prove is, that:

  • Where was a duty of care that the professional person had towards you
  • They breached this duty of care
  • You suffered injury or loss as a direct result of the professional’s breach of care towards you

Check out our guide to professional negligence for more details

What’s the Difference Between Misconduct and Professional Negligence?

Misconduct is someone’s poor standard of behaviour. Not all misconduct is professional misconduct, but when it is, professional negligence can be the result.

Our view is that if you have paid for professional advice, you are entitled to take all necessary steps to ensure you are compensated for the consequences of the negligent advice.

For more information about professional negligence claims, please call us, or complete our online contact form, and we will be in touch as soon as possible.