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Coroners & inquests

Fieldfisher's personal injury and medical negligence team act for the families of those killed in accidents at work, on the roads and railways, as a result of medical negligence and asbestos exposure. Part of our work is to support families through the often difficult process of an inquest. This may involve giving evidence as a witness or making a personal statement about the deceased.

To speak with one of our inquest solicitors call 0800 358 3848 or complete our online enquiry form.

Although stressful, an inquest should provide grieving families with important information about how someone died. In summing up, the coroner may highlight failings to prevent future deaths and make recommendations to parties involved which must be addressed.

We can help you contribute to the inquest to best support your interests and, where appropriate, to call those responsible to account. The outcome of an inquest often benefits any ongoing civil claim for compensation.

What we do

We will visit you at home and ensure your case is investigated thoroughly and professionally. We will explain each step of the inquest process as part of our work on your claim.

Please read our guide to inquests brochure for more information on what to expect from an inquest and how to achieve the best outcome.  

Our solicitors specialise in fatal accident claims

If you have suffered a bereavement as a result of some medical negligence, for example a road collision or at work, the deceased's financial dependents may be able to claim for the subsequent loss of financial support.

We pride ourselves on doing everything possible to make a claim as straightforward and stress free as possible.

We specialise in complex and high-value claims, quantifying financial dependency and the loss of services the deceased would have given the family.

We may also be able to arrange for you to be represented at inquest.

Who can claim?

A dependent is defined as:

  • A wife, husband, ex-wife or ex-husband of the deceased
  • A civil partner or former civil partner of the deceased (living with the deceased for at least two years)
  • A child of the deceased
  • Any person (not being a child of the deceased) who was treated by the deceased as a child of the family
  • A parent of the deceased
  • A sibling, uncle, aunt, niece, nephew or cousin of the deceased
  • A cohabitee may also be able to claim

What can you claim?

You can claim damages under 2 separate Acts:

Under the Law Reform (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act, you can claim:

  • Pain, suffering and loss of amenity (from the date of injury to the date of death)
  • Special damages (from the date of injury up to the date of death) including loss or earnings, medical expenses and treatment, damage to clothing and property, care (professional or gratuitous) and travel expenses.
  • Funeral expenses
  • Probate fees
  • One-off expenses and losses

Under the Fatal Accidents Act, you can claim:

  • A statutory bereavement award
  • A dependency claim for the financial losses suffered by the dependents of the deceased
  • A claim for the funeral expenses, if paid by the dependents

Statutory bereavement award

If the deceased was your wife, husband, civil partner or child (under the age of 18) at the date of death, you are eligible for a fixed sum of £12,980. This is paid in addition to any dependency claim.

The Government is currently considering proposals to bring the rights of cohabitees in line with those who are married, under the Human Rights Act 1998. Currently, a long-term partner can claim many of the same items under the Fatal Accident Act as a bereaved spouse, but not the Statutory Bereavement Award – i.e. would receive £12,980 less than a married person in a successful civil claim.

Coroners and inquests frequently asked questions

Coroners have been with us in one form or another since the 12th Century.

Over the centuries Coroners have exercised many powers on behalf of the Crown, mainly relating to taxation and declarations of “treasure trove”. But even since those earliest times the Coroner has had the responsibility of establishing the cause of any unexplained death, wherever there may have been a “breach of the King’s peace”. However, It is not the Coroner’s role to establish who was at ‘fault’ but simply to establish what happened and to give his verdict accordingly.

Over time the role has evolved, and it continues to evolve, but the system in place today is broadly the same as that established by The Coroners Act of 1887.

Representation by lawyers at a hearing might raise issues or might uncover evidence which is valuable to the family.

This might simply help the family understand what has happened and might help in a later compensation claim. 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, as we can guide and help you focus on the right questions to ask.

It is important for families to understand what caused the death and, where possible, to call those responsible to account. We will guide you through the Inquest process, by representing you when you need it and by claiming compensation where we can - money is no answer to sudden bereavement but neither is it acceptable for families to suffer the double injustice of financial loss when that can be avoided.

A post-mortem examination can provide new and unexpected medical information about the cause of death. That information may be relevant to any compensation claim. When a claim has begun it is important that the defendant is informed of the death and is given the Coroner’s details. If the Defendant is not given the opportunity to obtain relevant medical information then the civil court might not allow any compensation claim to be made at all; especially where lung cancer is involved.

Contact us

For a free, no obligation call with one of our inquest solicitors, please dial 0800 358 3848 or complete our online enquiry form.