Professional, specialist legal advice and representation for inquests
If you have lost a relative or loved one, an inquest can help you get the answers you want. The process can be very daunting but we can support you to find out what happened which can help you come to terms with your loss.
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When do inquests take place?
An inquest will only occur when a coroner decides that one is necessary, and not all deaths are even reported to a coroner. If someone has been treated by a doctor or hospital leading up to their death, it is likely that they will sign the 'Medical Certificate of the Cause of Death', explaining the cause.
Doctors have a duty to report deaths to the coroner in certain circumstances such as:
- Occurred as a result of poisoning, the use of a controlled drug, medical product or toxic chemical
- Occurred as a result of trauma, violence or physical injury, whether inflicted intentionally or otherwise
- Is related to any treatment or procedure of medical or similar nature
- Occurred as a result of self-harm, (including a failure by the deceased person to preserve their own life) whether intentional or otherwise
- Occurred as a result of an injury or disease received during, or attributable to, the course of the deceased person’s work
- Occurred as a result of a notifiable accident, poisoning, or disease
- Occurred as a result of neglect or failure of care by another person
- Was otherwise unnatural
How can legal advice help me at an inquest?
The inquest can be a very difficult event emotionally - especially so soon after suffering a bereavement. If you want to determine what caused the death of someone close to you, and have questions you want answered, legal advice can help ensure that you achieve this. We've represented many bereaved families at inquests and know the process to follow and the right questions to ask at every stage.
Some inquests also attract media attention. If this should happen and you wish to get a message across about the outcome, we can help you with this and even prepare and deliver a statement on your behalf if you don't feel able to do so yourself. If you're unsure whether or not to engage with media, we can advise you on this before the date of the inquest to help you make a decision.
Depending on the type and nature of the inquest, you may be better not to be present for the whole process. There may be parts of the inquest where the upset caused may outweigh any benefit of you attending. We can advise you when and when not to attend and can ensure that you are represented fully throughout and that any questions you have are raised.
How is legal advice funded?
In some instances, the coroner may ask for Legal Aid funding to ensure that legal representation is funded. However, this is very rare and in other cases you can either fund your representation privately, or you could fund it through a Conditional Fee Agreement (otherwise known as a 'no win, no fee' agreement). This can be arranged if we feel there is a case for negligence as a result of the inquest.
Whichever way you fund your legal representation, you won't need to pay for anything without your prior agreement - we can discuss your circumstances with you and agree the best way to proceed and advise you on how to fund any legal advice and representation.
How can Switalskis help me?
Our inquest team includes some of our most experienced specialists. Not only do they have very thorough knowledge of this area of the law, but they also have the compassion and understanding to help you through a very difficult process. If the inquest finds that negligence may have contributed to the death, you may be able to claim for compensation against the negligent party. As experienced specialists in Medical Negligence and Mental Health law, if this should happen, we will be well-placed to provide you with continuous, consistent legal advice without having to find a separate law firm.