A negligence lawsuit is a type of personal injury claim in which a plaintiff seeks compensation for damages they’ve suffered as a result of a failure of duty of care. That duty of care may be owed to them by a driver whose lack of attention led to an accident; a manufacturer whose product was poorly designed and which caused an injury; a physician who failed to diagnose an illness that another doctor would have spotted; and many other examples. Negligence can occur in all types of scenarios, including in the tasks that you’ve paid an accountant to perform. If you believe that your accountant’s services have fallen short of what is reasonably expected and it has cost you money or caused you professional harm, then you may be able to sue them for negligence.
Every negligence case attempts to prove four simple facts:
- That the defendant owed the plaintiff a duty of care
- That the defendant failed to provide that duty of care
- That the failure to provide the duty of care was the cause of harm to the plaintiff
- That the harm caused to the plaintiff is quantifiable and compensable
In the case of accounting negligence, the most common accusations revolve around violations of Generally Accepted Accounting Principles (GAAP), Generally Accepted Auditing Standards (GAAS), or failure to obey securities laws. There are also different levels of negligence, with simple negligence representing errors that an average accountant wouldn’t or shouldn’t make and gross negligence representing serious deviations from standard practice, such as embezzlement or wrongful certification of financial statements. Negligence in the course of auditing can lead to oversights of fraud or misguided reporting on a company’s profitability.
Any and all of these examples – and many more – can lead to significant financial losses for you or your business. The best way to determine whether the mistakes or misdeeds of your accountant rise to the level of negligence is to speak with an experienced accounting malpractice attorney who can review your situation and confer with other professionals to determine whether your experience is beyond the bounds of what you should reasonably be able to expect.
If you would like to discuss your concerns with our knowledgeable lawyers, contact our firm today to set up a time to speak.