No amount of compensation can bring back a family member or loved one. However, if the worst does happen you may be entitled to compensation either as a dependant or on behalf of the deceased's estate.

When should I report a death to the coroner?

If you are concerned about the circumstances leading to the death of a loved one. If you feel you need legal help in reporting a concern to the coroner or you have been contacted by a coroner in relation to an inquest and you need legal help, please contact us.

What will the coroner do?

The role of the coroner is to investigate fatalities in particular circumstances – for example, those occurring in prison or police custody; those arising from surgery or industrial injury; or those where there is no clear, obvious cause. Many fatalities reported to a coroner will be explained fairly easily, and the matter will go no further. However, it is often necessary for him to look into the situation in more detail. If further investigation is necessary then an inquest may be held. An inquest is not an inquiry, it has just three purposes: to determine who the deceased was; when and where he/she died; and how he/she died.

It is also important to remember that the inquest will not result in compensation being given – a separate legal action for negligence would need to be brought by the family.

What decision can the coroner reach?

Having considered the evidence the coroner will deliver a verdict. The coroners’ rules specifically forbid individuals being held responsible by the coroner – although it may occasionally become clear during the inquest that the fatality arose because of someone’s fault. The verdict may take the recognised form such as ‘accidental death’ or ‘misadventure’. Alternatively a narrative verdict may be delivered which will give a more detailed account of what the coroner believes happened.

Funding for inquests

In most circumstances, legal aid is not available for professional legal help with inquests. We can advise you on whether legal aid may be available in your case. In certain circumstances, if following an inquest a claim for medical negligence is made, you may be able to recover any costs incurred relating to the prior inquest.

Tozers’ Partner Stuart Bramley discusses inquests in a short video here:

What clients say

Stuart helped with the coroner’s inquest which was great. We definitely felt cared for.

Colleen Tyler

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