An inquest is a formal, public fact finding inquiry, conducted by a coroner. Its purpose is to determine where, when and how someone , died.
Often an inquest will be the first, and sometimes the only way, that a person finds out how their loved-one died.
In addition, an inquest’s findings may well shape the nature of any subsequent civil trial or criminal investigation, if either happens. It is important to note, however, that the inquest, itself, is not an enquiry designed to apportion civil or criminal blame.
The law relating to inquests is complex and the process can be daunting and confusing.
Our experienced inquest solicitors can guide you through the process, minimising the confusion and distress that participation in an inquest can bring.
Each inquest is extremely important to the family of the deceased, and also to any other interested party involved and especially so if there are subsequent civil, or indeed criminal, proceedings.
Inquests can be an important part of the process of holding individuals or organisations to account and in ensuring, where appropriate, that steps are taken to prevent deaths in similar circumstances occurring again.
For a witness, an inquest may be equally significant. Whilst a coroner is not permitted to attribute any blame or liability for a death, individuals can be compelled to give evidence at the public hearing.
We have considerable experience of representing organisations, employees, bereaved families and other interested parties at inquests.
We can advise and assist a witness so they are properly prepared for the hearing and any potential action that may follow.
In some circumstances an inquest can be the first step in deciding whether to bring a claim for damages against an employer, hospital or medical professional.
Our team draws on that relevant experience, including clinical negligence specialisms, and will guide you to minimise the complexities and distress that being involved in an inquest can bring.
We offer the information and support you need, whether it is liaising with the coroner and requesting disclosure to be provided prior to any hearing of reports of any post mortem examination, medical records, expert reports and other documents relevant to the investigation.
We also liaise with all the relevant people or authorities on your behalf including the coroner’s office, the NHS, the Health and Safety Executive, and other relevant organisations.
We can also provide support for bereaved families dealing with inquests.
An early consultation is strongly recommended so bereaved relatives better understand the process and know how to prepare.
We also understand that not every family wants, or even needs, representation at the inquest. We can give you practical and sensible guidance relevant to your particular circumstances.
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