Attending a Coronial Inquest
Maurice Blackburn understands the intricacies of the law and the Coronial Inquest process. We are able to explain it to you step by step, in plain language.
How Maurice Blackburn can help you at Coronial Inquests?
At Maurice Blackburn we can liaise with the Coroner’s office on behalf of your family, we prepare the case, and will arrange for a barrister to represent you at the Inquest.
While it’s not necessary to have legal representation at an Inquest, we know from experience that Coroner’s matters can be complicated, and since any doctors and hospitals involved will have legal representation, we advise that you do too.
All you need to know about medical negligence
If your health care professional, hospital or other facility breaches what’s known as their duty of care, you may be able to make a claim for compensation.
Types of medical negligence
Dimitra DubrowNational Head of Medical Negligence, Melbourne
"I enjoy interacting closely with my clients and helping them to access their full entitlements. It is truly rewarding knowing that we are helping empower people."
Tom BallantynePrincipal Lawyer, Melbourne
"I’m inspired by helping people achieve a measure of justice and financial stability."
Frequently Asked Questions
You may be eligible to claim a medical negligence compensation during a coronial inquest if someone in your family has died as a result of negligent medical treatment or medical malpractice.
A provider can include a hospital, doctor, nurse, assistant, lab personnel, dentist, pharmacist or other employer or allied health professional.
If someone in your family dies because of medical negligence or malpractice, you and all dependant family members may be eligible for compensation. Your compensation can recognise the loss of financial benefits that has occurred to you because of the death.
In some cases, surviving family members and other loved ones may be eligible for compensation for emotional injury (also known as nervous shock).
Compensation can also recognise the loss of financial and other support suffered by any dependant as a result of the death.
The most common types of medical negligence claims you can request a coronial inquest into:
- deaths which occur as a result of a hospital or doctor's failure to diagnose and treat a life-threatening illness or condition
- deaths because of anaesthesia
- deaths involving the use of hospital bed restraints
- deaths because of failure to diagnose and treat meningitis, and
- deaths resulting from prescription of excessive dosage of medication.
Medical providers owe you a 'duty of care' to exercise skill, judgement and reasonable care when examining, diagnosing, treating and advising you. If they breach that duty, you may be able to make a medical negligence compensation claim during the coronial inquest and they may be liable for any harm caused.
Common negligent treatment for which you may participate in a coronial inquest include:
- making an existing condition worse
- misdiagnosis or failure to diagnose a condition
- failure to provide the appropriate treatment or referral
- a delay in diagnosis or providing the appropriate treatment or referral
- failure to perform surgery or provide post-operative care with reasonable care and skill
- incorrectly reporting on test results.
You may be able to claim medical negligence compensation during a coronial inquest for negligent treatment by a medical provider under general Australian law, if medical negligence or malpractice results in an unexpected death.
Each state and territory has its own laws that apply to coronial inquest medical negligence cases. To make a successful medical negligence claim, you need to be able to prove that:
- there was negligent medical treatment
- the treatment caused an injury or some harm that would not otherwise have occurred
If you do have a case, we will help settle it outside of court or represent you in court. Contact us to discuss your claim.
You will only need to pay our fees if you receive a settlement for your medical negligence compensation claim during the coronial inquest, as we provide our medical negligence services on a 'no win, no fee'* basis.
If your claim is successful, you will be charged for the costs of the investigation and the legal work performed after issuing proceedings. This will be a charge on the appropriate court scale, and you will be given more information about this at the time when the decision is made to issue proceedings.
You won't be charged our fees if your claim is not pursued. In most cases, disbursements (the out-of-pocket expenses that we pay to other people) must be paid whether you win or lose.
Yes. However, medical negligence law is complicated. Even if someone in your family has received negligent treatment, you cannot make a negligence claim if they haven't suffered harm or injury.
As medicine is a difficult practice, your medical providers aren't expected to be perfect. Sometimes medical treatment is unsuccessful and injuries occur, but that is not enough to show that they were treated with negligence. You will need to prove that their negligent treatment was more than a reasonable mishap or mistake.
It's important to get help from someone who understands the complexities of medical negligence law, with experience in your area. Maurice Blackburn is Australia's leading and largest team of medical negligence lawyers, with all the resources and experience that come with being a national firm.
If you think you’ve experienced negligence or malpractice, contact us today to find out how we can help you.
In order to make a medical negligence claim at a coronial inquest, you will need to:
- Contact Maurice Blackburn to speak with our medical negligence team.
- We will gather information from you about what has occurred and then provide you with a preliminary assessment.
We will help you understand if you have grounds for a claim by investigating your case and getting an independent medical expert's opinion. If we believe you should proceed further, we will then lodge your legal claim and represent you at mediation and settlement hearings.
During the inquest we will liaise with the Coroner’s office on behalf of your family, prepare the case, and arrange for a barrister to represent you at the Inquest. The Coroner will:
- first perform a detailed physical examination of the body, known as an autopsy, to establish the cause of death.
- investigate the cause of death, particularly how and why the death occurred. They can also make formal comments regarding the death and make public health or safety recommendations related to the death.
- if further investigation is required, information about the death will be collected by a Coroner’s assistant or a police officer.
- lastly, an Inquest, which is a public hearing conducted by the Coroner, will then be held and all evidence and findings regarding the death will be presented.
Time limits vary under the different state and federal laws. If your medical negligence claim during a coronial inquest is for a child, time limits can vary more and differ between states.
Your medical negligence claim and the legal process may take up to several years. The timeline for your coronial inquest claim may be shorter or longer depending on the case, so it's best to contact a personal injury lawyer as soon as possible. Extensions of time limits are sometimes possible.