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The importance of an autopsy to a wrongful death case

Posted in Our Blog,Wrongful death on June 17, 2016

An autopsy can come about in two different ways. First, if the death itself seems suspicious, the state may demand that one be done as part of the criminal investigation. However, even if one isn’t ordered, it’s important for people to remember that they can still ask for one.

The autopsy will do a few different things, but the main goal is to prove, from a medical and scientific standpoint, why the person passed away. This proof can then be used in court. Even in cases where it seems obvious, an autopsy may be able to remove all doubt.

For example, your loved one may have been involved in a car accident caused by a negligent driver who was on his phone at the time of the crash. It seems clear that the accident killed your loved one and the distraction of the phone caused the accident, so this seems like an easy link.

However, what if the other driver steps forward and says your loved one wasn’t driving properly at the time of the crash? That driver could claim your loved one had a heart attack behind the wheel, which was the true cause of death, taking the person’s life before the accident.

At this point, the autopsy can determine if your loved one died from a heart attack or from something else, such as blunt force trauma. The result could determine whether or not you really have a wrongful death case, as the cause of death must be traced to the other driver.

This is simply one example, but it shows how important an autopsy can be. Make sure you know about this and other forms of gathering evidence in Louisiana.