Future claims against you – could you be in danger?
Ever worried about making a serious on the job-mistake and not even realising it? Most people are unaware that months and even years could go by before your mistake could come back to haunt you in the form of a professional indemnity insurance claim.
In fact, in a recent survey we did, we discovered that the majority of people we surveyed did not know the length of time they could be held accountable for professional errors. So while it’s not a great scenario to picture, it’s definitely worth taking note of the Limitation Act 1980, which essentially governs the window that your client has to take action against you.
The key time frames for a professional indemnity claim, which are relevant to most consultants and freelance contractors, are as follows:
- A claim against you for breach of your contract condition has a 6-year limit from the date of the breach (apart from a contract under seal, which would be 12 years).
- A negligence claim has to be brought 6 years from the actual negligent act (with some instances this can be as much as 15 years where if the damage caused by your negligence was hidden).
These limitation periods have always received mixed reactions, as whilst some professionals have benefited from the time restrictions (i.e. a claim notified just after the 6-year mark), others unfortunately have had to deal with some very large claims years after they stopped working.
But you can rest assured that there are ways to protect yourself. The best way to avoid it is by maintaining your Professional Indemnity policy (run-off) after a contract ends. This is crucial due to the “claims made” nature of PII.
In addition to this you should seriously consider setting up a “limited company” and only corresponding via this Ltd company name.
If you want to discuss your professional liability, limitations and / or your client contracts, contact us and we will be able to advise you on your current PII arrangements or give you comprehensive guidance on a new Professional Indemnity policy to see that you are covered appropriately.