The death of a child is truly devastating, and in the immediate future it can be difficult to see past the grief and practical arrangements. However, this distress can be greatly exacerbated by concerns that there has been substandard medical treatment and that the death could have been avoided.

A coroner will call an inquest to determine the cause of death if this is not apparent from the medical history or the post mortem, or if there are any unanswered questions surrounding the circumstances of the death.

Our inquest specialists work with you to share the burden of the legal process; guiding you through each step, and ultimately, helping you better understand why your baby or child died.

Our specialists will do their best to progress the case at your pace and in a way which suits you best. We appreciate that it is an incredibly sensitive and difficult time. All our inquest staff have been trained by and are accredited by the Foundation for Infant Loss.

We can also put you in touch with specialist organisations who can provide invaluable further support during this difficult time.

For more information on what an inquest is please take a look at our inquests guide.

Will I have to pay legal costs?

An inquest can be funded in a number of ways. All of our funding options can be seen in our guide here.  We always recommend getting in touch to discuss this with us, as we can then offer the best advice for your particular case and circumstances.

Is this just about money?

If a loved one’s death has been caused by negligence, we can help secure financial compensation for you and your family.

Compensation can help you with any expenses incurred as a result of the death, such as funeral costs. It is also possible to claim compensation for the parents or family members if the circumstances of the death have caused a psychiatric injury, or any related loss of earnings.

However, we also understand that families may not have financial compensation as their primary aim. Wherever possible we strive to get answers to your questions about the death, seek an apology and work to bring about changes to ensure that no other family has to suffer the loss of a loved one in similar circumstances.

Useful links

What is an inquest?

What is a pre-inquest review hearing?

Inquests: a glossary of legal terms

What to do when your child dies

Downloadable guide for child bereavement

Recent cases

When J was just four months old he was taken to A&E after vomiting and having loose stools. His condition seemed to improve a little whilst there and he was discharged. The doctor advised his mother to bring him back if he got worse, but did not advise her of J’s viral gastroenteritis diagnosis or tell her to be aware of signs of dehydration. Two days later, J was found unresponsive by his father and an ambulance was called. Sadly, he could not be resuscitated.

After assisting J’s family at the inquest in to his death, we were able to bring a claim on their behalf against the hospital for their failures in the advice given. It was found that the hospital should have given clearer advice to J’s mum and that if they had done so his death would have been avoided.

E was born prematurely. She had been diagnosed with a form of heart disease before she was born and had suffered a number of complications after birth. It was therefore decided that E should undergo surgery in an attempt to repair her heart.

A few days after surgery a consultant noted that E’s central line had been displaced. This was reattached using medical skin glue. The line came unstuck again the following day and it was removed. Attempts were made to regain IV access but this was unsuccessful. E’s heartbeat slowed and her blood pressure dropped. Sadly, resuscitation attempts were unsuccessful and E passed away.

We represented the family to investigate the quality of the care provided, obtaining advice from an independent expert to provide answers to the family about the quality of the care given to E whilst she was at the hospital and to support them through the inquest process.

More from our team

Why Teresa chose our inquest team

We spoke to our client, Teresa, about why she chose Royds Withy King for her inquest and compensation claim. Making a fatal claim or undergoing the legal process of a coroner's inquest can be a very stressful time. Our legal team are experts in this field and can help you through this complicated time in your, and your family's life.

Play/pause video button

Dozens of additional concerning cases identified a...

On 31 August 2018 the Health Service Journal revealed that many more cases of concerning care have been uncovered at the NHS maternity ...


Ali Cloak acts for family bereaved by avoidable se...

In October 2018, our client Mr C attended the Emergency Department of the Royal Blackburn Teaching Hospital in Lancashire, having calle...


Statutory bereavement award increased from 1 May 2...

Earlier this month, the statutory bereavement award in England & Wales was increased. This blog explains about the change in the bereav...


Read more on the Info Hub