Fatal Injuries

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Experienced solicitors for complex claims

We know that nothing will ever make up for the devastation and heartache of losing a loved one in a fatal accident..

We are all too aware that following a fatal accident the families of the victim not only have to cope with the grieving process but they also have to cope with the financial and other consequences as a result of the death of their loved one. We could help you cope and offer you support through one of the most difficult times of your life. Alongside advice from doctors and financial advisers, expert advice from an injury solicitor can help you make decisions that may improve your situation. Claiming compensation can help ease the burden of any financial worries you or your family may have.

If someone you love has died as a result of the negligent actions of another person, you could be entitled to claim for compensation. You might also be able to help to prevent the same thing from happening to someone else.

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We know that tragedy can strike at any time and have represented families who have lost loved ones in a variety of different circumstances including:

The official statistics reveal that, in the UK, work-related deaths in the waste and recycling sector are the most common. Our page on fatal work accident statistics has more information. 

Fatal Accident Injuries

Fatal accident inquiries (FAIs) are public inquiries convened to investigate deaths occurring in the course of employment, in legal custody, or under sudden, suspicious, and unexplained circumstances raising serious public concern. Initiated by the procurator fiscal under the authority of the Lord Advocate, FAIs aim to determine the time, place, and cause of death, without assigning blame or guilt in either the civil or criminal sense.

Held in the Sheriff Court, FAIs involve the procurator presenting evidence, and at the inquiry's conclusion, the Sheriff issues a determination with findings about the death's circumstances. While the Sheriff may make recommendations to prevent future deaths, these suggestions are not legally binding.

In response to a 2014 review, the Scottish Government enacted The Inquiries into Fatal Accidents and Sudden Deaths etc. (Scotland) Act 2016, effective from June 2017. This legislation extended the circumstances requiring mandatory FAIs, increased bereaved families' involvement, allowed greater inquiry location flexibility, and altered how Sheriffs make recommendations.

Despite these changes, Thompsons Solicitors contends that the reforms fall short, with recommendations still unenforceable and workplace deaths not receiving comparable importance to criminal matters.

Fatal Accident Inquiries for Relatives

Thompsons consistently campaigns for families to be the focal point of the FAI process, advocating for change despite an extensive 2015 report on FAI system failings and subsequent reviews. The firm, having represented numerous families in high-profile cases, asserts that the FAI system in Scotland is still plagued by delays and calls for a fresh approach, building a system with victims and their families at its core. 

Despite ongoing challenges, Thompsons remains committed to representing families seeking justice. If you have experienced the loss of a loved one in a fatal accident and believe negligence is involved, Thompsons is here to assist with making a fatal injury compensation claim. Contact our empathetic and experienced team through various online methods or call us today.

Who Can Claim

There are a number of categories of family members and people with a relationship of affinity to the victim who legally we are able to assist by offering support and claiming compensation on their behalf. To name a few these include:

  • a spouse or a former spouse
  • a civil partner or former civil partner
  • a cohabitee if you have been living as man and wife for over two years,
  • a parent or ascendant of the deceased
  • a child, or a child who may not be a blood relative but who was treated as a  child of the family in relation to that marriage
  • a brother, sister, uncle or aunt of the deceased

In addition to a claim for compensation for individual family members and people with a relationship of affinity to the victim there may also be a claim for compensation for the estate of the victim for the pain and distress they suffered prior to their death, financial losses and funeral costs. Any compensation received for the estate will be distributed in accordance with the victim's will.

To find out more about making a fatal injury claim, give us a call today  and talk things through with one of our expert lawyers.

Find out more about Fatal Accident Inquiries by using the link below:

Thompsons Solicitors has vast experience of assisting families involved in fatal accident inquiries and can guide you through the process. Give us a call today on 0800 0891 331 to find out more.

Thompsons Takes Every Claim Seriously 

Thompsons Solicitors in Scotland is dedicated to representing families seeking justice after a loved one's death. As advocates for change, we have played a crucial role in supporting bereaved families in their pursuit of both social and legislative reforms. If your family member died under circumstances where duty of care was neglected, contact Thompsons for legal advice and support. Fill out our online claim form or call us at 0141 280 4626 to discuss your situation.

Thompsons View on Fatal Accident Inquiries

Our experience of assisting the families of victims of fatal accidents led us to call for changes in the FAI process. These were as follows:

  • The families of the deceased should be at the heart of the process.  Their concerns and questions should be given paramount importance in the investigation and they should be properly funded to have legal representatives to represent their interests.
  • The process must begin as quickly as possible.  Any conflict with criminal issues can be avoided by the inquiry process being adjourned, should that be necessary, or by the inquiry only considering certain matters which will not be before the criminal courts until the criminal matter is concluded. This serves an important double function of meeting the families' need for urgency and also in not causing any prejudice to any criminal trial.
  • The inquiry must be undertaken by Scotland's most senior judges.
  • The process should bring all of the parties to the fatal accident inquiry back before the judge at a certain period after his/her determination (say six months) to ensure changes have been enacted.
  • There should be a clearer power for the Judge to report to Ministers at both Holyrood and Westminster if it is clear that a change in the law is required.
  • The senior judges must have appropriate and necessary power to ensure that lessons are learned and that changes occur by being able to require, rather than simply recommend, that practices change.

However, despite the new legislation, we feel that significant problems with the system remain and families continue to suffer as a result.

FAI Failings 

The process is still too slow and while there has been an emphasis on speed and efficiency once an Inquiry reaches court, it can still take years before the procurator fiscal's office makes a decision on whether an inquiry will be held.

While we acknowledge that the gathering of evidence and investigation into the sometimes complex circumstances surrounding a fatal accident must be carried out correctly and exhaustively, we feel there are certainly some cases which have suffered from inordinate and unexplained delays before a decision was made.

In 2016 the Inspectorate of Prosecution acknowledged the distress and trauma that a family experiences following the death of a loved one, and the bewildering and concerning nature of having to deal with the procurator fiscal service. It added that "protracted investigation and unexplained delays are likely to undermine public confidence in [the Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal Service] and, potentially, in Fatal Accident Inquiries”. And yet, unexplained delays and confidence failings still occur with distressing regularity.

Help with FAIs and Compensation-Related Questions 

 Do you want help and advice in relation to a Fatal Accident Inquiry and/or related compensation. Call us today for free legal advice from Thompsons, the leading personal injury firm in Scotland.

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