Support at an Inquest into the death of a family member

  • Having an experienced lawyer at an inquest into a loved ones’ death can help ensure you receive answers to any questions you have about treatment provided prior to death.

Losing a loved one and having to go through the events leading up to your loved one’s death at an inquest can be upsetting. However, an Inquest must take place if the Coroner has concerns about a death.

A Coroner must investigate a death if there is reasons to suspect that:

  1. The death was violent or unnatural
  2. The cause of death is unknown
  3. The death occurred whilst the deceased person was in custody

An Inquest will determine:

  • who died
  • when they died
  • where they died
  • how they died.

The Human Rights Act 1998 makes it unlawful for the state to act in a way that infringes rights provided by the European Convention on Human Rights, including Article 2 which imposes an obligation on the state not to be complicit in the taking of life and to have systems in place to protect life. There is a specific duty to investigate where a death may have resulted from a breach of Article 2. In such cases the Coroner will not only investigate how the deceased died but also “in what circumstances” – this can lead to a wider investigation.

At an inquest, the Coroner will hear from family members as well as doctors, nurses, employers and other professionals involved in the deceased’s care and/or the circumstances surrounding their death.

The Coroner will then normally reach a conclusion as to how the deceased came to their death. The causes may include:

  • death by accident
  • death by misadventure
  • death by natural causes.

It is important to note that Inquests are not about apportioning blame, but they present an opportunity to try to get the answers that so many bereaved families often need. It is sometimes the case that the Coroner will discover that neglect has occurred in the care given to the deceased, which can lead to the decision that the death was unlawful.

Inquests are separate to and not like more formal Court proceedings, but having an experienced lawyer present can help families get answers to outstanding questions they may have. If you have lost a family member and there is an inquest into their death, it is important that your views are heard and that there is an appropriate inquiry.

If you have lost a loved one due to negligence, you or your family should contact a solicitor as soon as possible. The sooner we can commence work on your claim, the sooner we can begin to help you. If you believe that you or someone you know has suffered as a result of clinical negligence or require representation at an inquest please contact Anne Cassidy.

We have offices in London, Southampton, Woking, Richmond, Lymington and Guildford. We deal with clients throughout the country and we will visit you at your home, hospital or rehabilitation unit.

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