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Fatal Accident Claims and Coroner's Inquests
While most healthcare is administered to a very high standard, sometimes mistakes are made and a patient can tragically lose their life. In such circumstances, it is imperative the bereaved seek legal assistance to help them at such a difficult time, providing invaluable support and guidance on how to claim for the suffering caused. At JMW, we know just how devastating medical errors can be, and we are fully committed to securing the compensation to which you and your loved ones are entitled.
If a death is subject to a coroner's inquest, our team can provide the very best representation and offer the support and guidance you need at such a difficult time. Appointing the right legal representative, with the experience and know-how to ask the right questions and get the right answers, is essential in such circumstances.
If you have been bereaved due to fatal medical negligence or require expert representation at a coroner's inquest, our specialist team of solicitors can help. Call us on 0800 054 6078 or complete our online enquiry form to discuss your situation with us.
You may be entitled to make a claim if somebody close to you has died and you believe this to have been caused by the negligent actions of a medical professional. For instance, you may suspect that the appropriate steps were not taken to prevent the death of your loved one.
By making a claim, you will give yourself the best chance of discovering what happened, and why. If it arises that the death may have been avoidable and was caused by negligence, you could be entitled to compensation; and we'll help you get the correct amount.
Families understandably want answers whenever something happens to a person in the care of a professional, especially in the event of death due to medical negligence. We will help you to get these answers. Not only that, our involvement can also help to make sure that the right measures are taken to prevent the same thing happening to somebody else.
We can help you to challenge the medical errors that led to the devastating loss of a child, or enable you to cope with the financial consequences of losing a loved one by securing the compensation to which you are entitled.
We can claim on behalf of:
- A husband or wife, or former husband or wife of the deceased
- A civil partner or former civil partner of the deceased
- A person who was living with the deceased as husband or wife for at least two years prior to the death
- A parent or other dependant of the deceased
- A person who was treated by the deceased as his or her parent
- A child or other dependant of the deceased
We understand that while nothing can repair the emotional pain of losing a loved one, compensation can help to ease financial issues, especially if the main breadwinner in a family has been sadly lost.
In most cases of death, a GP or hospital doctor will issue a Medical Certificate of the Cause of Death, which is sent to the Registrar of Births and Deaths who will then issue a Death Certificate.
However, in some cases the body may be referred to a coroner. For example, if the death:
- Followed an accident or injury
- Occurred during surgery
- Happened after an industrial disease
- Was unnatural or violent
- Had no explainable cause
- Took place in prison or police custody
From here, the coroner may go on to perform a post mortem to find out more about the cause of death. Then, the coroner may launch an inquest - a legal inquiry, held in public, into the reason for and circumstances of the death.
The purpose of an inquest is not to apportion blame, but to answer four questions:
- Who died?
- When did they die?
- Where did they died?
- How and in what circumstances did they die?
A coroner's inquest is often a highly emotional experience for relatives of the deceased. It is also unlikely that family members will know the correct procedure for questioning witnesses. This can sometimes lead to a feeling that their concerns have not been adequately addressed during the inquest procedure.
However, appointing a legal representative to attend the inquest will ensure not only that your questions are put to the witnesses, but also that, where appropriate, information regarding a potential negligence claim is gathered.
Often, family members wish to see someone held accountable for their loved one's death and to have assurances that similar deaths will not occur. A coroner cannot make a finding of criminal or civil liability or apportion blame for a death. The purpose of the inquest is for the coroner, sitting alone or with a jury, to reach a conclusion (formerly verdict) about how someone died.
There are a range of conclusions available to a coroner, including traditional 'short form' verdicts such as accident/misadventure, stillbirth or suicide. It is becoming increasingly common for coroners to reach a narrative conclusion, which briefly summarises the facts about the death. A coroner or a jury may also reach a conclusion that a death has been contributed to by neglect.
Whilst a coroner cannot make a finding that a person or organisation has been negligent giving rise to a compensation claim, a coroner is able to make factual findings about failures in care in some circumstances. These findings can subsequently be helpful if a family chooses to pursue a claim for compensation.
One of the powers available to a coroner is the power to make a Regulation 28 report. If the coroner feels that the evidence gives rise to a concern that circumstances creating a risk of other deaths will occur or continue to exist, he/she may make a Regulation 28 report, which is sent to the organisation that has responsibility for the circumstances. A recipient of a Regulation 28 report must send a written response within 56 days. Reports are available to the public and the press.
The response must give details of any action that has been or is proposed will be taken, or provide an explanation when no action is proposed.
Our team is highly experienced in dealing with fatal claims. We have dealt with fatalities caused by many different situations, and always provide a caring, sympathetic service. We understand how difficult it and daunting it can seem to make a claim in such terrible circumstances, but we are here to make the whole process as simple and hassle-free as possible.
We work with compassion and empathy and will always work towards the speediest result possible. Our professional and personal approach will ensure you're able to get the answers you are after.
We also understand that coroner's inquests can be very emotional and can seem particularly daunting, which is why we are here to provide the representation you need and to ensure the process is as stress-free as possible.
Our team is headed by leading solicitor Eddie Jones and is widely considered one of the best clinical negligence departments across England and Wales. Indeed, some of our solicitors form part of the Action against Medical Accidents (AvMA) solicitor panel and the Law Society's specialist panel for clinical negligence.
By choosing JMW, you can rest assured you have an experienced, professional and understanding team in your corner that will ask the right questions and work tirelessly to help you get the answers you are looking for.