Any death brings with it difficulties - and an unexpected or an unexplained death, especially one that is work related will almost certainly lead to an Inquest before a Coroner and perhaps a jury.
Where there is an unexpected or unexplained death a Coroner has a duty to investigate. Primarily a Coroner has to determine and record the answers to four fundamental questions:
- Who the deceased was;
- Where did the deceased die;
- When did the deceased die; and,
- How did the deceased come by his or her death.
If the deceased died in circumstances where the state was in someway in control of the individual, such as a prisoner in custody or someone in a care setting where a Deprivation of Liberty authorisations (DOLS) had been made, then the Coroner must investigate the circumstances of the death. In those cases the Coroner must consider the wider circumstances of the death.
Whilst an Inquest cannot determine questions of fault, criminality or liability their findings can have a significant influence on regulators and prosecutors.
If you are called to give evidence at an Inquest there is the very real prospect of having to answer some difficult questions and your business may face both criticism and adverse publicity.
Worst of all you may face a finding that there had been neglect - which almost certainly would spawn claims for compensation from the deceased's relatives and provoke prosecutors to become interested. In the context of an inquest a finding of neglect equates to a finding very serious or 'gross' neglect - the same standard of neglect that is needed to establish a manslaughter charge.
We at Brunswicks have represented many clients either at or about inquests. The deaths we have dealt with have ranged from work related accidents, suspected suicides of students, through to unexpected deaths in care homes, such as through falls out of windows or through accidental drugs overdoses.
Having a work related or unexpected death isn't something that is planned for. Often such unfortunate events take place outside office hours. We are ready and available to help and assist 24 hours a day 365 days a year. Just call on 07855 855 588.