An Inquest is a fact finding exercise that is conducted by a Coroner for the purpose of establishing the circumstances in which an individual died. The purpose of an Inquest is not to apportion blame for the individual’s death or to award compensation.
Having said this, evidence will often be given at an Inquest which may subsequently prove helpful in establishing who was to blame for the accident or injury. As a consequence the evidence may help determine whether it will be possible to pursue a claim for personal injury compensation.
An Inquest will be held in cases where the death:
- Was violent or unnatural;
- Involved a person who was in state detention including prison, Police custody or detention under the Mental Health Act.
An Inquest will also be held when the cause of death is still uncertain after a post mortem.
Evidence is given by witnesses under oath and questions can be raised by or on behalf of interested parties such as family members or the deceased’s employers where it is believed that the death may have been related to their work. Most Inquests will be heard before a Coroner alone although a Jury must be summonsed if death occurs in certain circumstances including a potential breach of the Health & Safety at Work Act 1974.
A variety of verdicts can follow an Inquest including accident or misadventure, industrial disease and unlawful killing. In addition the Coroner can return an open verdict which means that the cause of death cannot be established and doubt remains as to the exact circumstances leading to the fatal injury. Alternatively a narrative verdict can be returned by a Jury providing an explanation of what is believed are the main issues, but without determining the actual cause of death.
At Sintons our personal injury specialists can provide practical advice and assistance regarding the Inquest process and can provide representation at the Inquest itself. This will ensure that all relevant issues are raised and where necessary any matters arising from the evidence are clarified.
The cost of attending an Inquest and providing such representation can usually be recovered as part of the fatal injury compensation claim.
All personal injury claims are pursued on a No Win No Fee basis so you can rest assured that there is no financial risk.
To begin a personal injury compensation claim or obtain further advice with no obligation contact Sintons 24/7.