When you have been affected by a fatal accident, making a claim is likely to be one of the last things on your mind. You will understandably be taking the necessary time to mourn your loved one as well as making arrangements in the wake of their unexpected death. However, it’s important to realise that taking the huge first steps towards receiving the compensation you’re owed can help ease the financial pressure on yourself.
As we will explain in this article, making a fatal accident claim doesn’t have to be a long and hassling process. Here is the process you will go through when completing a fatal accident claim…
Find the right solicitor for you
The first step you should undergo is to look around for a trusted firm who will represent you throughout the whole process of making a claim. You will want to find a team of experienced solicitors who specialise in cases such as your own. Many qualified firms operate on a No Win, No Fee basis which shows that winning your case is at the forefront of everything they do. Don’t make the decision that you can handle a claim on your own, particularly when the emotional stress can cloud your judgement and understanding.
Naturally you will have a lot of questions which this step is why is arguably the most important one you will face. You shouldn’t commit until you know what lies ahead. Any professional firm should be able to provide a free, no obligation consultation. Use this opportunity to clarify any questions or doubts you may have.
Appointing a firm to handle your case
Finding the courage and will to get to this position is a mark of your strength and belief in chasing what is right. By this point you should know if you are eligible to claim, what you can claim for and how much you can claim. Whether you are looking to claim for a bereavement award, a motorbike accident claim or another type of fatal claim, these are all points that should be answered during the initial consultation when searching for the right solicitors.
If a solicitor firm agrees to take on your case, then this is a sign that they believe you have a strong case to answer, especially if they work on a No Win, No Fee basis. This means that you won’t be liable to pay their solicitor fees unless your case wins in court.
A coroner may decide to hold an inquest
One of the first major developments that can occur during your fatal accident claim is when a coroner chooses to hold an inquest. An inquest is not always necessary but will happen if a post-mortem examination shows that a death has not been caused by natural causes. An inquest may also still be held in deaths by natural causes in certain situations such as if someone was under arrest or in prison at the time of their death.
During an inquest, the coroner will carry out an investigation and hear evidence to confirm the identity of the deceased and their cause of death. At the end of the inquest they will then deliver a verdict. However, it’s important to note that this does not disclose any individual or organization as having criminal or civil liability.
While the thought of hearing evidence at an inquest can be nerve-wracking, many of those affected typically feel that this is an important part of the grieving process and helps them come to terms with their loss. It is also a good chance to prepare yourself for future proceedings. Your solicitor can represent you at the inquest and will help ease your concerns during the process.
Taking your case to court
From the moment you choose your solicitor firm, they will look to build a case as strong as possible with your best interests at the forefront. This will come in the form of evidence you may find difficult to confront and tough questions you will be asked. The solicitors should make you feel at ease and answer any questions or concerns you may have. It’s important that you co-operate with them as much as possible in their conquest to gather the facts. You may be asked to supply evidence to help your case such as doctor notes, police complaints, salary slips, letters from an employer, photographs of injuries, witness statements and receipts showing expenses related to the accident and subsequent death.
Going to court can be a worrying scenario for everyone and even more so if you are asked to give evidence. Regardless of your involvement during the proceedings, this is where the solicitors earn their money. Not only should their priority be to present the strongest possible case against the defence, but it’s important that they keep you at ease and inform you of regular updates along the way.
If all is successful, the process for a fatal accident claim will hopefully conclude with you receiving the amount of compensation that you deserve.