An autopsy is a comprehensive medical examination carried out by specifically trained physicians, whose area of expertise covers study of diseases and abnormalities. This examination is performed post-mortem, with the aim of ascertaining the cause of the person’s death. Other than conducting visual examinations, the pathologist may sometimes inspect the tissues and organs of the deceased.
Why an Autopsy is Often Important
Autopsies may not be needed in all cases where a wrongful death is required to be proved. However, it can be vital to the case, given that it can conclusively prove the cause of death. For example, if a person passes away weeks after having been in an accident, an autopsy could establish that the cause of death was trauma sustained in the event, as opposed to something the person later developed.
Further reason for favoring an autopsy is that the evidence it offers is more certain in comparison to, say, a death certificate. If, for instance, a person expired of cardiac arrest, specific information such as that which an autopsy provided could shed light on any wrongdoing or negligence that caused the death under consideration. Explicit factors, such as a blocked coronary artery or an aneurysm, could point to a doctor failing to diagnose the condition, which would in turn provide grounds for filing a medical malpractice suit. This is generally where autopsies prove extremely important.
After the Autopsy
After ascertaining the cause of a loved one’s demise, you would generally approach a wrongful death lawyer in the event of suspected foul play. One of the first things to find out is whether the death had been preventable, but happened because someone else was negligent or intentionally wrong. If so, then the party at fault can be held liable in the court of law.
Wrongful death lawsuits are typically brought by close relatives of the deceased, such as a child, spouse, or parent of the deceased. Even someone financially dependent on the deceased may file a lawsuit of this kind. Damages sought typically include lost future income, medical expenses, pain and suffering, etc.
Why Timing is Vital
Many people find it objectionable to have an autopsy performed on the body of a departed loved one, whether on religious or moral grounds. This holds especially true during times of mourning, which are bound to be filled with confusion and sadness for the bereaved. However, it is essential to remember that results from an autopsy would hold great significance to any lawsuit filed later.