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If the victim passes away due to other causes during the legal process – Advice for relatives

If the crime victim passes away during the legal process due to reasons unrelated to the crime, the relatives should seek assistance of a lawyer. This ensures the protection of their rights. If the relatives are aware that the victim already had a lawyer handling the criminal case, it is advisable to contact this lawyer first.

Certain relatives of the deceased may have the right to request legal action in place of the deceased. To exercise this right, the relatives should determine the stage of the criminal case concerning their deceased relative.

If the case is still under investigation by the police the relatives should contact the police, and if the case already reached the consideration of charges, the relatives should contact the prosecutor. If the case is already pending before the court the relatives should contact the court in question.

The spouse and the children of a deceased victim have the same right to request legal action and to bring charges as the deceased complainant would have had unless the deceased expressed a different wish while alive. If the deceased victim has no spouse or children, this right belongs to the deceased’s parents and siblings.

Relatives’ possibility to claim for compensation

Relatives might also have a possibility to claim for compensation from the perpetrator for the harm caused to the deceased. In this case the right is held by the joint owners of the deceased estate, in accordance with the Code of Inheritance. More information about the Code of Inheritance

If the person suffering from the injury or damage has died, the parties to the estate shall not have the right to bring an action for damages for anguish, pain or suffering, invalidity or other permanent handicap. The State Treasury also does not pay compensation if the victim has died for reasons other than those related to the crime being processed in court, as applications for crime victim compensation should generally be submitted to the State Treasury while the victim is alive.

Help for those who have lost a loved one

If a crime victim passes away during the legal process, it can be good for the relatives to seek crisis support. There are various organisations that offer help and support in such situations, including:

Contact the Victim Support Finland