Proving Fault in a Fatal Accident Claim
08 August 2019
If someone is killed in an accident, how can you prove who is to blame? We explain the Fatal Accident Claim process, including how fault can be proven and what evidence will be taken into consideration during the claim.
Legal Advice following a Fatal Accident
An accident can happen anywhere, and some of these accidents can have serious, even fatal, consequences. The loss of a loved one will always be traumatic and devastating for those left behind, but losing a loved one in a fatal accident comes suddenly and without warning. If someone dies as a result of an accident that wasn't their fault, then how can their loved ones get justice?
Regardless of whether the death occurred because of an accident at work, a road accident, medical negligence, or a slip, trip or fall, the first step to take is to speak to a Personal Injury Solicitor who specialises in Fatal Accident Claims.
How is Fault Proven?
If someone dies as the result of an accident, this will be reported to the coroner. The role of the coroner is not to assign blame, but to establish the facts of the death, including who has died and how, where and when they died. In order to establish these details, the coroner may decide to hold an inquest into the death.
Depending on the coroner's findings, a Fatal Accident Claim may then begin. The purpose of the Fatal Accident Claim is to determine who is at fault for the accident and if they are found negligent to then seek practical justice and support through compensation.
In order to establish the circumstances surrounding the accident and determine who is at fault, your Personal Injury Solicitor will obtain and review all the evidence that's available.
This may include obtaining witness statements, including from those who were present either during, before or after the accident. Witnesses don't necessarily have to have been at or near the scene when the accident occurred though. For example, a road accident witness may have been someone who saw a driver behaving recklessly earlier in the day. Or a witness to an accident at work could be someone who had previously reported a hazard which wasn't addressed, or someone who had seen similar, less serious accidents occur in the same location before.
Your Solicitor will also review any photographic evidence that's available, or arrange for photographs to be taken retrospectively if applicable. The Solicitor may also decide that it's necessary to visit the accident location, to gain a more comprehensive understanding of the environment in which the accident took place.
Other available evidence could include footage from CCTV or from a dash or helmet cam. If the accident happened in a workplace or a public space such as a shopping mall, then the accident book can also be reviewed as part of the investigatory work.
For Medical Negligence Claims, medical records and appropriate experts will also provide valuable evidence.
What Happens Next?
Once fault has been established, your Solicitor will calculate a fair amount of compensation and engage in negotiations with the other side. If the other side denies fault, then your Solicitor will enter into litigation with them.
If you've lost a loved one in a fatal accident, it's likely that you will have unanswered questions. You may not know where to turn to or what to do next. That's why we're here. Our Serious Injury Solicitors can talk you through your options and provide support and guidance during every stage of the claim.
Our Solicitors can carry out a free assessment of your claim, with no obligation on you to instruct us. We are also able to handle most Fatal Accident Claims on a no win no fee basis, meaning there's no financial risk to you if your claim is unsuccessful.
In addition, our Coroner and Inquest Solicitors can provide you with representation and legal support during the inquest as part of the claim. We will deal with the coroner on your behalf and provide advice and guidance throughout the coroner's process.