Understanding the legal process after someone has died unexpectedly can be very difficult.
The role of the Coroner
If a death arises very suddenly, the Doctor may report the case to someone known as a Coroner.Typically, examples of when a Coroner maybe notified would be if the death arises :-
- after an accident
- whilst abroad
- due to an industrial disease whilst at work
- when an operation may have gone wrong
- when the death was violent or unnatural – for example, suicide, accident or drug or alcohol overdose
The Coroner will then decide upon whether a post-mortem to determine the exact cause of death is required. Only with the permission of the coroner can a funeral take place after the post-mortem.
The Coroner may request that a formal inquest is undertaken. The Inquest will be held before a Coroner and maybe before a Jury in certain cases. The Inquest will determine who died – when, where, how and in what circumstances. Given this, it is often very important for families in understanding the circumstances as to how the death arose. Often witnesses will be called to give evidence and questions can be asked by families, despite this the Inquest will not seek to apportion blame or prejudice any future criminal inquiry. Once all the evidence has been considered the coroner will deliver a verdict, which can be natural causes, accident or misadventure, unlawful, neglect or open if there appears insufficient evidence for a verdict to be made.
We regularly help families across the UK with Inquest advice – we can explain in detail the steps that will arise and what can be done to protect the families interests. Please contact Tim Murden on 01482 638 564 or by e-mail at email@example.com