Slee Blackwell are leading inquest solicitors in Devon, Somerset and beyond
As one of the region’s top rated medical negligence firms — consistently appearing as a recommended practice in the prestigious guide to the law, The Legal 500 — we inevitably deal with a lot of inquests.
Our medical negligence team is led by partner Oliver Thorne. Oliver has extensive experience of dealing with inquests. You can read here about a maternity inquest he dealt with following the tragic death of a baby at the North Devon District Hospital.
Oliver has also dealt with a number of other high-profile inquests, including the following two cases that were reported on by the BBC:
This was the sad case of 20-year-old Maddy Lawrence, who was injured playing for the University of the West of England rugby team against Bristol University. She was taken to hospital for treatment but died several weeks later from a bacterial infection. You can read more about the case here.
This tragic incident involved Derriford Hospital in Plymouth which missed several opportunities to save the life of a new born baby. The little boy died from lack of oxygen and the hospital was criticised at the inquest for communication failures, which contributed to the baby’s death.
As leading inquest solicitors in Devon, clients often ask us whether it is essential for the family to be represented by a lawyer at the inquest. The short answer is that while legal representation certainly isn’t obligatory, it is generally recommended where there is a possibility that a medical negligence action will follow. Oliver has written an interesting article about inquest procedures and the circumstances in which you may wish to appoint a specialist lawyer which you can read at https://www.sleeblackwell.co.uk/legal-articles/medical-negligence-inquest
While most inquests do not involve a jury, there are some situations where it is considered appropriate for a jury inquest to take place and we have experience of dealing with these cases.
At the conclusion of an inquest the Coroner (or the Jury) will reach a decision about how the death occurred. Among the findings that can be made are:
- Death by natural causes
- Unlawful or lawful killing
- Accidental death
If there is insufficient evidence to reach a definitive conclusion, an ‘Open Conclusion’ can be given.
Funding legal representation at an inquest can present an issue for many families. However, where medical negligence is involved, we are often able to work on a no win, no fee basis. This means that you do not have to worry about financing the legal costs and won’t be liable for any legal fees if a subsequent medical negligence claim does not succeed.