Concerns about the circumstances of a death

You may have concerns that your loved one’s death could have been avoided, for example if they had received better treatment from their hospital GP, care home, prison or other employer etc..

Informing the coroner

If you are concerned about how your loved one died you should report the death to your local coroner as soon as possible, as they may decide to hold an inquest to investigate the cause of death. You can find the Coroner for your area here or by contacting the local authority.

Alternatively, it may be that you are contacted by the Coroner’s Office to notify you that an inquest will be held, without you making them aware.

You may want to seek legal advice from a solicitor specialising in Inquests, who can support you through the process, often at no cost to you.

Investigating what went wrong

Even where an inquest isn’t taking place, you may want to investigate the circumstances of your loved ones’ death.

Bringing a claim against an employer, hospital, GP, care provider or state body such as the police or prison service, can allow you to investigate the circumstances around a death and potentially claim compensation if the death was caused or contributed to by negligence.

Bringing a claim can also mean that the same negligent treatment or care isn’t provided to someone else. You may receive an apology and be told what lessons have been learnt or changes made to services since your loved one died to avoid the same thing happening to others.

Instead of bringing a claim, or before bringing a claim,  you may wish to make a formal complaint or request that an investigation is undertaken by whoever’s care the deceased was under. This could be, for example, a complaint to the Care Quality Commission if the death took place in a care home or supported living facility, a hospital Trust if the death took place either in the hospital or when someone was under the care of a community health team, or the Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC) for deaths related to police contact.

Whilst you can do this yourself, you may wish to contact a specialist lawyer who can advise you on the best way to approach the complaints process.

If you have concerns about the circumstances of a death then please get in touch, or you may wish to look at our specialist pages for more information:

Please also take a look at our Fatal Claims factsheet for more information on make a claim for compensation after a bereavement which involved negligent care.