It’s everyone’s worst nightmare…taking that call to say a loved one has died. The feelings of despair are often compounded when someone else is to blame for taking your loved one away.
Following a fatal accident there are a variety of legal avenues that enable families to not only understand the circumstances that resulted in their loved ones death, but to also seek compensation if another person is responsible for the accident. Different courts are responsible for dealing with different legal aspects:
o Coroners Court: Inquest o Magistrates Court and Crown Court: Criminal case which can be brought by either the police (Crown Prosecution Service) or the Health and Safety Executive o County Court and High Court: Civil case
Following initial contact by the police, the first contact that families generally have with a court is at an Inquest. The purpose of an Inquest is to answer four questions:
• Identify the deceased • Place of death • Time of death • How the deceased came by their death
Importantly, it is the not the purpose of the inquest to determine who was responsible for the death or attribute blame. However, many of the questions that families have about the accident circumstances are invariably answered at an Inquest. It is important that families seek legal representation at an Inquest to ensure they get the answers they seek.
An inquest enables families and legal teams to gather important information about the accidents circumstances which can be useful for any civil claim that might arise.
Civil claims are governed by the Fatal Accidents Act 1976 and Law Reform (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 1934. The law in relation to fatal accidents claims is evolving, and what can be recovered and by whom. It is important to seek legal advice from a solicitor who has expertise in this area of law to ensure that your case is properly dealt with.
Morgan Jones Pett Solicitors – experience in fatal accident claims
Simon Bransby, a lawyer at Morgan Jones Pett Solicitors, recently dealt with a case recently involving a claim which arose out of an accident at a skip yard.
He was instructed by the wife of a man who had died whilst working in a yard with a large number of skips being returned from customers, or being emptied and despatched to customers. It was a busy skip yard and the deceased was killed when he was knocked by one skip, into another and trapped. Sadly he suffered a ruptured a major artery and died in the ambulance on the way to hospital.
In order for the wife of the deceased to succeed with her civil case, it was necessary to demonstrate that there was unsafe work practices and as a result, these resulted in the death of her husband.
When the accident circumstances were investigated, it transpired that the skip company had not undertaken any written risk assessments. Despite this, the Health and Safety Executive who investigated the accident, found that there was insufficient evidence to bring a criminal prosecution for the company’s safety failings.
In relation to the civil claims brought by the deceased wife, fortunately liability was not disputed by the skip company, and we succeeded in making a personal injury claim on behalf of our clients who received compensation for the death of her husband, as well as loss of his earnings and pension
If you need representation at an Inquest, please get in touch as we have a great deal of experience helping deceased family members. In addition, we can also provide families with expert PR support in handling any media interest.
If you need to make a fatal accident claim for compensation, we have several expert solicitors and lawyers who will be able to help you.
Get in touch firstname.lastname@example.org or telephone 01603 877000