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Legal representation and support following the death of a loved one from a food safety incident

We have put together some information below which we hope will be helpful to anyone looking for advice and support following the death of a loved one related to a food safety incident such as a severe allergic reaction, anaphylaxis or fatal food poisoning.

The food safety team at Leigh Day deal with a wide range of cases and this can sadly include incidents that end in death. Bereavement can affect individuals and families in different ways. Losing a loved one is emotionally devastating and where the death is unexpected or unexplained it can be hard for a family to understand what to do and who to contact.

The unexpected death of a loved one can leave many unanswered questions. If you need legal advice you can contact our dedicated food safety team who can answer any questions you may have and provide you with the necessary information you may need to make an informed decision.

Please be aware that there are time limits in which to bring a claim for compensation. Our advice would be to get in touch a soon as possible.

We have put together some information below which we hope will be helpful to anyone looking for advice and support following the death of a loved one related to a food safety incident such as a severe allergic reaction, anaphylaxis or fatal food poisoning.

Practical Arrangements

There are a number of people, outside of your family and friends, that need to be notified of a death for practical and legal purposes. Some of these need to be done soon after the death whereas others can be done at a later date when you feel ready.

People to contact include:

  • the deceased’s GP or the hospital where they were cared for, in order to obtain a death certificate;
  • you can register the death on the government’s website. This needs to be done within 5 days in England and Wales (8 days in Scotland) - this includes weekends and bank holidays.
  • schools, employers, social media providers, DVLA and passport office, any utility/mobile phone providers, any memberships, banks and building societies. The Tell Us Once government service is a useful tool to notify a number of institutions at one time. The details of the website are as follows - https://www.gov.uk/after-a-death/organisations-you-need-to-contact-and-tell-us-once

Inquests

If a death is ruled from the post-mortem not to be from natural causes an inquest will be held to examine how the person died. The need for an inquest does not prevent a family from arranging a funeral. When a coroner is notified of the death then they may issue an interim death certificate while they continue to investigate the incident.

If the coroner issues an interim certificate then the funeral and probate arrangements can be made.

Whether as a family you choose to be represented by a lawyer at the inquest is a decision only you can make. However, some inquests are so complex and detailed that families can find it difficult to navigate them without legal support and representation.

Further information can be found on our food safety inquests page [add link].

Probate

Probate is the legal right to deal with someone's property, money and possessions (their estate) when they die. The process of how the estate is dealt with may differ depending on whether there is a will.

In order to represent you and your family we require a particular type of Grant of Representation or Grant of Probate. The document will give the executor or administrator of the estate legal authority to act in the administration of a deceased's estate.

We can assist you with obtaining the necessary documentation you require and put you in touch with probate solicitors who can also assist you with any other matters such as registering the death.

Help and support

Charities

There are many charities and support helplines that can offer help following the death of a loved one. These include:

Benefits

Some benefits are available following the death of a loved one such as a Bereavement

Payment or a Bereavement Allowance. You can check whether you are eligible for any benefits by visiting the following website - https://www.gov.uk/bereavement-support-payment

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