Fatal Accident Coroner Inquest: The immediate steps that should be taken following a death in a fatal accident before compensation can be claimed by grieving relatives and dependants
Fatal accident coroners inquest: discover when a coroner must become involved following an accident which causes death in the UK, the steps the court must take and the information that you can rely on in the inquest which will help dependents and other relatives claim compensation for the loss of a family member.
When must a fatal accident coroner inquest take place?
Generally speaking a coroner should become involved if an accident causes a fatality whether this be: a serious road traffic accident, workplace accident, a sporting fatality, a medical accident, death at birth or a criminal act of violence.
If there is a suspicion that a death occurred in an unnatural way a coroner should investigate. how the death occurred to decide if it was an accidental death or otherwise.
Why must a fatal accident coroner inquest take place?
The coroner’s involvement is simply to decide how and when a person came to die, which can then be marked on that person’s death certificate so that burial can take place and that person’s estate can be settled.
Can the information used at a coroner’s inquest help you make a fatal accident claim?
“Yes” – the information used by a coroner at the inquest, the verdict given and the reasons for the verdict at the end of the fatal accident coroner’s inquest can be accessed by your lawyer and will help determine whether someone was at fault so a claim can be made against them for compensation.
Your solicitor would need a large amount of additional evidence to help prove your claim, but the initial findings of the coroner at the inquest would assist in helping make a decision whether to consider making a claim or not.
What is the corner’s court procedure following a fatal accident?
The procedure in brief is as follows:
1. The deceased’s body
Once a coroner is involved – the body of the deceased is technically under the control of the coroner until the outcome of the inquest is decided.
2. Post mortem
A post mortem is not always necessary – a coroner will make a decision whether to have one performed after discussions with the deceased’s family members.
If a post mortem is to be completed – a pathologist is chosen by the coroner who should be an independent doctor.
Family members can request another doctor be present to observe the process.
The pathologist completes a report for the coroner – for a small fee you can request a copy of this report.
3. The coroner’s court inquest following a fatal accident
Direct family members and their legal representatives will have the right to attend at the fatal accident coroner’s court inquest.
If you are thinking of making a compensation claim it is often helpful to have your solicitor present at the inquest hearing. Whether present or not – details should be kept of the expert and witness evidence given which should be helpful to the lawyer you have instructed to make a compensation claim.
4. The coroner’s court verdict
At the end of the inquest a verdict will be given with reasons for the verdict of the court. The verdict will be entered onto the death certificate. This will allow the body of the deceased to be buried and the estate of the deceased to be administered.
Sometimes interim certificates are given before the full inquest to allow the deceased’s burial to take place.
There are many different verdicts which can be given, but a couple which could give an indication that a fatal accident claim might be possible:
a. Death by unlawful killing
This will not only include criminal acts, but also acts of serious negligence, such as an employer’s disregard as to the health and safety of employees at work (work and industrial injury compensation claims) or dangerous driving (RTA car, truck and motor cycle fatal accident compensation claims).
If this verdict ifs given there is a strong possibility a claim might be possible.
b. Accidental death or death by misadventure
This verdict does not necessarily mean that someone was at fault for the death only that there as no intention to cause death whether by accident or otherwise – a deceased could have accidentally caused his own death such as in a sporting accident such as horse riding. Or someone might have accidentally caused the death of the deceased (such as in medical negligence claims or industrial disease compensation claims).
If this verdict is given you should contact a solicitor to see if a claim for compensation for fatal accidents could be made.
5. The fatal accident coroner court directions at the end of the inquest
If there is a serious issue to be investigated as to the cause of death the coroner should give direction for the appropriate authorities to be notified.
Fatal accident coroner inquest summary
On this page you have seen the importance of a fatal accident coroner inquest.
I recommend you click fatal accident claim to see when you can claim in UK fatal accident compensation.