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Jamie-Law
Jamie-Law, Solicitor
Category: Law
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Experience:  Solicitor
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We are currently perusing a professional liability claim

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We are currently perusing a professional liability claim against an equine stud. Their insurers have acknowledged the complaint within the 21 day period of us issuing it. It is now exactly 3 months since their initial response and to date we have not received a response with their decision on liability. Where do we go from here? Am I right in thinking that the pre-action protocol requires their stance on liability within the 3 month period?

Hello my name is ***** ***** I will help you with this

How much are you seeking to claim?

Customer: replied 4 months ago.
It is £72,500.

Have they said why it is taking so long?

Customer: replied 4 months ago.
The only reason we have been given is that a decision of liabailty has yet to be reached but it is now exactly 3 months since the letter of acknowledgement from the insurers.

Ok - you should consider issuing proceedings.

You need to write and set out your losses and request payment within 14 days or say you will go to Court within 14 days. You should make sure you send this signed delivery and keep a copy.

If they do not pay you then you can issue proceedings in the County Court. You can either do this online at: www.moneyclaim.gov.uk or by completing form N1 http://s3-eu-west-1.amazonaws.com/hmctsformfinder/n1-eng.pdf and take it to your local County Court.

The Court will then issue a claim which a copy will be sent to the Defendant who will have a limited time to defend it, if not you can enter Judgment and enforce.

If the claim is for £10,000 or less it will be a small claim so you will not need legal representation. Over this value, you would need representation for trial.

AS your claim is for £72k, you should get public access barrister to represent you in Court and draft the pleadings.

It will cost around £3600 in Court fees, just to issue it.

You can find one at:

www.clerksroomdirect.com

www.mybarrister.co.uk

Can I clarify anything for you about this today, please?

If not, I would appreciate a 5-star rating for my answer. If you need anything further I am available for a follow up at no extra cost.

Jamie-Law and other Law Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 4 months ago.
OK that's great. I'll give you a 5 star rating now. In your opinion, as a solicitor, do you feel we are within our rights to take this further to court given it has been 3months and no stance on liability? Is there a set time limit on how long an insurance company are allowed to take to reply to our claim as it stands? (before instigating your proposed court action) also what is the time once a claim has been filed to the County Court for the insurance to deliver their defence?

Yes, but say 14 days or go to Court.

Then they have an opportunity.

They have 28 days to file a defence.

Customer: replied 4 months ago.
Also, we have withheld payment for their service until we receive a satisfactory outcome under the Consumer Rights Act 2015. As our losses seriously outweigh their invoices. (in their care 100% of our foals either died or are sick with poor pronosises due to mismanagement and an environmental issue). Are we within our rights to do this because the service we received was of an extremely poor standard resulting in catotrophic losses?

Yes

Customer: replied 3 months ago.
Hello, as advised by you we put them in 14 days notice to either accept or deny liability in this case and disclose any documents/ defence they are relying on. They have acknowledged receipt of the 14 days notice but haven't complied. Where do we go from here? I know we can seek an order from the court for disclosure but how do we go about doing it?

Do that by completing form N244:

http://s3-eu-west-1.amazonaws.com/hmctsformfinder/n244-eng.pdf

Make a formal application asking for disclosure.

Customer: replied 3 months ago.
Thank you.
This morning we received this -Our enquiries are not yet complete, I must advise. We have a number of enquiries outstanding with Equus Vets as well as with the vet who at the time worked at Newton Stud but has since moved onto another position elsewhere. In short therefore, whilst enquiries remain outstanding, we are not in a position to reach a decision on liability and/or thereafter provide the necessary documentation. It is difficult for me to put a timescale on when I can respond more meaningfully as I am, to a great extent, reliant upon the cooperation of independent third parties but rest assured, I have already been chasing them this week and will do so again in the early part of next week.I understand that you may now wish to instruct solicitors to represent you and of course have no objections to communicating directly with them.Do you suggest we wait? Any advice on next step would be greatful.

I would wait, yes........ You have several years to make a claim

Customer: replied 3 months ago.
We have had this response
I do sincerely ***** ***** we are not in a position to confirm our position now but my Principals wish to be certain (as they have every right to be) that their insurance policy should respond to the claims that you, as a third party, have advanced. Once I have their replies it will assist my Principals in determining the issue of liability of Newton Stud and their policy liability.I don't even understand what their loss adjuster is trying to say here?

I would just wait.