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Will the Coroner Be Involved in a Fatal Accident Claim?

14th November 2019

Any death that has been caused by a fatal accident will be reported to the Coroner, who will carry out an investigation to establish the facts of the death. The work carried out by the Coroner is separate to the Fatal Accident Claim, but the Coroner's findings may support this claim.

For free initial advice call our Fatal Accident Solicitors on 0330 606 9587 or contact us online and we will call you.

What is a Fatal Accident?

A fatal accident is, as you might expect, where someone dies as a result of someone else's fault. The loved ones of the person who died may therefore be entitled to make a Fatal Accident Claim for compensation.

Some of the most common causes of fatal accidents include:

Why Will the Coroner Be Involved?

Although it can seem unnerving for the Coroner to be involved in the death of a loved one, it's far more common than you may think and there's no reason to be concerned. Currently around 45% of all deaths in the UK are reported to the Coroner.

There are a number of circumstances when a death will always be reported to the Coroner. This includes any death that was sudden, unexpected, unnatural, violent, unexplained or where the cause of death is unknown. A fatal accident will always fall into at least one of these categories, and so will be reported to the Coroner on this basis.

Other reasons why a death may be reported to the Coroner include those where:

  • the person wasn't seen by a medical practitioner during their final illness
  • the person was under general anaesthetic when they died
  • there's no medical certificate, or the doctor who signed the medical certificate didn't see the person within 14 days before or after the death
  • the medical certificate indicates that the death may have been caused by industrial disease or industrial poisoning

What Will the Coroner Do?

The role of the Coroner is not to apportion blame, but simply to establish the facts of the death. This includes:

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

The Coroner will carry out some initial investigations and they may then decide to conduct a post-mortem to help establish these facts. When investigating a fatal accident, the Coroner will usually hold an inquest into the death. Not every death that is reported to the Coroner will require an inquest, but any death caused by a fatal accident will usually result in an inquest unless the matter is the subject of a criminal prosecution, perhaps because of a charge of death by careless or dangerous driving. In these cases the coroner will not hold an inquest as the investigation into the cause of the death will usually form part of the criminal court process.

An inquest will be held for any one of the following reasons:

  • The facts of the death have not been established by initial investigations or a post-mortem
  • The person died while they were in police custody or prison
  • There's a possibility that the cause of death was violent or unnatural

A fatal accident falls into the final category in this list, and so an inquest into the death will need to be held. This is an official public investigation into the death, which involves one or more Court hearings.

If you need support during the Coroner's inquest or representation at the hearing, our Coroner and Inquest Solicitors are on hand to help you. We can review evidence and documentation prior to the hearing, liaise with the Coroner on your behalf, question witnesses on the day and provide you with support and guidance throughout.

If a Fatal Accident Claim arises as a result of the inquest findings, then we can also support you with this. We are able to deal with most Fatal Accident Claims on a no win no fee basis, and we can also provide you with inquest representation as part of the wider claim.

For coroner & inquest advice call our No Win No Fee Solicitors on 0330 606 9587 or contact us online and we will call you.

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