What is an Inquest?
The coroner will hold an inquest to establish the cause of an unexpected death (in cases where the death is unnatural or where the cause is unknown).
The coroner is in charge of the hearing and will call witnesses to give evidence and ask them to answer questions. Families and their legal representatives also have the opportunity to ask the witnesses questions. At the end of an inquest the Coroner will make findings as to what caused the death.
Although the Coroner does not say who is ‘at fault’, any verdict might be useful in a subsequent compensation claim - it might confirm a medical issue, or it may shed some light on facts surrounding the death that may not have surfaced otherwise.
What happens before, during and after the Inquest?
First, why an inquest?
In England and Wales the Coroner will hold an Inquest when he is notified of a death that was violent or unnatural or, in the case of a sudden death, where the cause is unknown.
The Coroner will not investigate all deaths. However death resulting from an industrial disease such as the asbestos cancer mesothelioma is deemed “unnatural” and in most cases the Coroner will begin (“open”) an Inquest of his own accord.
Sometimes the Coroner and the family will disagree as to whether an Inquest should be opened. In some cases it is possible to challenge a Coroner’s decision not to hold an Inquest. The family may be able to influence the question that the coroner asks or the evidence that he calls for. This is where legal representation can be very helpful.
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Fieldfisher has successfully been recognised as an "Occupation and Asbestos Disease Specialists" Fieldfisher are now recognised as assessors
Charities we support
Compensation claim against the MoD following Kabul helicopter crash
Keith Barrett supported Gordon Emin's family during the inquest into his death in Kabul in 2015.
Fieldfisher bring first successful Asbestolux product liability claim in UK - another landmark case for mesothelioma sufferers
Caroline Pinfold has brought the first successful asbestos product liability claim in the UK.
The law must not force claimants to gamble crucial compensation
Parliament has been asked to consider changing the very practical system operated by the Lord Chancellor to say how lump sum compensation should be calculated.
Fieldfisher supports Matt Briggs' call for changes to cycling laws
Following the verdict in the high-profile Alliston cycling trial at the Old Bailey in August 2017, Keith Barrett helped client Matt Briggs to launch a campaign to have outdated cycling laws brought
Fieldfisher hosts successful conference for practitioners working with people suffering catastrophic neurological injury