A Fatal Accident Inquiry (FAI) is an official inquiry into the circumstances of an unexpected death. These inquiries are usually held in the Sheriff Court, and offer details to the public on any deaths whose causes give rise to reasonable suspicion. While the primary goal of an FAI is to prevent future deaths, the results of these inquiries could form the basis of negligence in a wrongful death claim.
When Is a Fatal Accident Inquiry Performed?
When performing a fatal accident inquiry, the Sheriff is required to make a determination outlining the main findings of the inquiry. These determinations should include the cause of death, the time and place of death, precautions which may have avoided the death, defects in the system of working which may have contributed to the death, and any other relevant cause of death information.
Under Scottish Law, mandatory inquiries are performed in cases where:
- The deceased was in lawful custody (such as in prison or attending school)
- When the death occurred at work
- A child(ren) died while in secure accommodation
- The death appears to be caused by a criminal act
- Other inquiries may be deemed to be in the public interest (such as deaths abroad)
It is important to note that FAIs are for the benefit of the public good, rather than to provide evidence and clarity on the circumstances of death to grieving family members. For this reason, it is vital that survivors seek representation from an attorney to get answers to their questions after a loved one’s death. We can request a written explanation if the Lord Advocate has decided not to hold an inquiry or request that an inquiry is reopened where there is new evidence.
If your loved one’s death is the subject of an FAI, our Glasgow wrongful death attorneys can advise you on the next steps in your case, and we share the financial burden of your claim with our No Win No Fee guarantee. Call us today or fill out our enquiry form to set up your no-obligation chat with a member of our legal team.