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Support and the Family Liaison Officer following a death on the roads
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Bereaved families are suddenly plunged into a world of uncertainty and grief following a death on the road.
As Solicitors specialising in serious injury and fatal accidents we see the aftermath of accidents, so what support is available to families?
Police Family Liaison Officer
A Family Liaison Officer (FLO) is a specially trained police officer assigned to help the people with procedures immediately following the death and during the police investigation.
The FLO should be able to help you with practical matters, such as making arrangements to see your loved one's body, explaining the procedures relating to the police investigation, answering where possible, questions you have about the circumstances of the collision.
For example I act for a client who lost her father in a road accident in Manchester. The Greater Manchester Police force assigned her an FLO, who gave her practical support and information in the early days, and have also supported her throughout the criminal investigation and subsequent prosecution, accompanying her to the criminal hearings and trial, explaining the process to her, supporting her and her family through until the verdict. Having a sympathetic and understanding informed police officer can make a huge difference to a family.
What if you are not assigned an FLO? Call your police point of contact and ask if an FLO is available.
The role of a civil claim
You may decide to pursue a civil claim against the driver following a fatal road accident, and if so you will benefit from the additional support of your legal team. As well as providing compensation pursuing a civil claim may help you to understand the factual circumstances of the accident, particularly if there was no criminal prosecution, as you will gain access to the police investigation documents (if you want to see these). Your Solicitors will also likely interview witnesses and may instruct their own accident reconstruction expert, which can help you to understand exactly what happened.
If there is a criminal prosecution your legal team will be an additional form of support to you during this time, and if there is an inquest your legal team will represent you at that hearing.
Charity advice and support
You may also find it helpful to talk to the road safety charity Brake . The Brake helpline can be reached on 0845 603 8570 or by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org . The helpline is open 10am to 4pm Monday to Friday (opening times can occasionally vary due to staff training.) Brake state “The helpline is for anyone who has been bereaved or seriously injured in a crash or their carers, whether the crash happened recently or a long time ago. It is also for professionals, such as police officers or health workers, who need information about how to help people affected by a crash”. Brake’s website also has a great deal of information you may find useful for reference.
If you have been bereaved as a result of a road traffic collision click here or call us on 0800 0384 384 to speak to a specialist personal injury solicitor. We are available to take your call twenty four hours a day, seven days a week.
0800 840 4929