Fatal Accident at Work Claims
Fatal accident at work claims are all too common, with farming and construction being two of the industries with the worst record. These fatal work accidents are devastating for loved ones. Especially as they cause financial difficulties for dependants of the deceased. Even more if the deceased was the ‘breadwinner’ of the family. You never think it is going to happen to your loved one. If it does, not only is it devastating to lose someone you love, but the legal processes which then occur can be bewildering.
At this time you need a friendly and sympathetic ear who can listen to you as well as explain in clear terms what these legal processes are. We have outlined some of these processes below.
We are here to help! Our team of specialist personal injury solicitors deal with many claims involving fatal accidents at work.
Health and Safety Executive and Police Investigations
Fatal Accident Inquest
Normally a fatal accident inquest will be opened and adjourned by the coroner fairly quickly. Identification of the body and approval of release of the body are the only issues to be dealt with at that early stage. A while later the accident inquest will resume with evidence presented to the coroner. Any party with a legitimate interest in the case may be represented.
We can represent you at the hearing. Questions can be put to witnesses to try to get to the truth of what happened. Although witnesses can be questioned, no one is on trial. The hearing is intended to be a search for the truth but the purpose of the hearing is limited, to try to establish how someone died. If anyone such as the deceased’s employer or another party is facing the possibility of criminal charges, he or she will not be obliged to answer questions which might incriminate him or her. The inquest is likely to be the first opportunity to find out what happened.
If you wish to be represented at a coroners inquest please contact us.
The HSE may decide to bring criminal charges under the Health and Safety at Work Act. The family are not deemed to be a party in the proceedings and are therefore not allowed to be represented at the hearing. However, the family might be asked to make an impact statement to the court before sentencing. This may or may not be something you feel you want to do. Where there is a criminal trial, even though you cannot be represented, you can have a lawyer sitting in the courtroom to take a note of the proceedings. It is likely to be important to note carefully what witnesses say about how the accident happened.
Making a Fatal Accident Claim
If it can be proved on the balance of probabilities that the accident was caused by the negligence or breach of statutory duty of another party, then a fatal accident civil claim can be made.
Under the Fatal Accidents Act 1976 dependants of the deceased such as a husband or wife or children can make a claim. Other relatives who were dependent on the deceased such as an elderly parent may also be able to claim.
Depending on the circumstances a claim can be made for:
- the injuries of the loved one who died, if he or she was conscious of pain before death
- funeral expenses
- statutory bereavement damages
- loss of financial dependency – which means a loss of the financial contribution of the deceased to the household
- loss of non-financial dependency. This can include things like DIY and other help around the house which the deceased used to provide to his or her family.
Our team of specialist Work Accident solicitors have won many claims for fatal work accidents. We can often pursue your claim for compensation on a no win no fee basis and we’ll get advise you on the merits of your case. We will also gather the evidence and advise you on how best to put your case forward.
You can trust that your case will be handled with sensitivity and we will advise on what civil compensation claims you may be able to make.
We know that nothing we do will turn back the clock. But we hope that we’ll be able to help you through such a traumatic time for you and your family.