There are a number of things you should consider before speaking to a Solicitor if a loved one has died and you think someone is to blame. Below is a list of the common things your solicitor will want to know:When did the person die? This is important because the time allowed to commence formal Court proceedings is three years from the date of death. If a claim is not made by this time it will become statute barred.
- What was your relationship to the deceased?
- Did the deceased leave any dependents behind? A dependent is defined by statute. An example of a dependent might be a wife, husband, child or cohabited. It is important when you speak to your solicitor that you are aware of all of the deceased’s personal relationships.
- Certain individuals are entitled to receive a bereavement award. This is an amount of money fixed by law, the amount is currently £12,980.
- It is preferable for the person instructing the solicitor in a fatal accident claim to hold either a Grant of Probate or Letters of Administration. This avoids any potential future complication when it comes to beginning formal Court proceedings. If a Claim Form is issued in the name of someone who does not have authority to act it will be invalid and the claim will not be allowed to proceed. This is particularly problematic if the Claim Form has been issued close to the three year period explained above.
- As with any claim information is key and you should aim to provide your solicitor with as much of it as possible. Some of the things that are likely to be spoken about (including the above) are:
- What were the circumstances of the death? If this was in a hospital what hospital was it, why was the deceased in hospital?
- What medical conditions, if any, did the deceased have?
- How much did the deceased earn?
- Has there been an inquest into the death? If this has not happened yet ask your solicitor to attend with you.
- Have you or the family received any letters, documents or reports from the Hospital?
The above is a non-exhaustive list. The most important thing to do is speak to a specialist solicitor as soon as possible as fatal accident claims can be very complicated.