Is an Autopsy Necessary for a Wrongful Death Lawsuit in MD?

Is an Autopsy Necessary for a Wrongful Death Lawsuit in MD?

In wrongful death cases, Maryland does not require an autopsy as proof in a lawsuit. However, an autopsy might be necessary where the cause of death is not obvious.

The decision to have an autopsy performed depends on various factors, including the circumstances of the death, available evidence, and your family’s wishes. While Maryland does not mandate autopsies in wrongful death cases, pursuing an autopsy can provide crucial evidence and strengthen your legal claim. In many cases, the cause of death is known, and there is no need for an autopsy. Our team is here to help you determine if an autopsy will provide you with the evidence you need to win your claim.

For a free case evaluation with our Maryland wrongful death lawyers, contact Rice, Murtha & Psoras at (410) 694-7291.

Will I Need an Autopsy to be Successful in My Maryland Wrongful Death Lawsuit?

Wrongful death cases in Maryland can be incredibly complex and difficult to manage. One of the main challenges that claimants face is proving negligence, which is a critical component of any wrongful death claim. This might require extensive investigation and evidence gathering, which can be a daunting prospect for those who are already dealing with the emotional impact of losing a loved one.

Additionally, claimants might need to consider having an autopsy done in order to establish the cause of death and, in turn, prove liability. This can be a difficult decision, as it involves further investigation into the circumstances of the death and will often prolong the claims process. As a result, claimants might be uncertain about whether or not to pursue an autopsy in their case. Thus, it is important to understand what an autopsy is and when it is necessary in a wrongful death lawsuit. Fortunately, autopsies are not necessary in most wrongful death cases.

Autopsies in Maryland

Autopsies are conducted after a person’s death to determine the cause and circumstances surrounding it. Different types of autopsies serve different purposes. Clinical autopsies are used to acquire medical knowledge, while academic autopsies serve educational and research purposes.

Forensic autopsies, however, are conducted to collect evidence for legal investigations and lawsuits. During a forensic autopsy, a forensic pathologist examines the body to identify any injuries or medical conditions that might have contributed to the person’s death. By analyzing gathered evidence, a forensic autopsy aids investigators in identifying the cause of death and building a case.

The process of conducting a forensic autopsy can vary in duration depending on the complexity of the case and the procedures involved. While some cases might be concluded in a few weeks, others might take several months. Despite the varying durations, it is crucial to conduct the autopsy quickly to preserve the integrity of the evidence.

Following the autopsy, the forensic pathologist prepares a comprehensive report that includes their final medical opinion and findings on the cause of death. The report goes into great detail on how they arrived at their conclusions, noting any special procedures that were conducted, such as CT scans and X-rays, and the results of lab reports.

A detailed description of the external and internal examination of the body and any microscopic findings is also included in the report. This meticulous documentation aims to provide a clear and accurate account of the circumstances surrounding the death, which can be used to argue the cause of death in court.

Will an Autopsy Be Necessary in a Wrongful Death Lawsuit?

When it comes to wrongful death claims, an autopsy is not always necessary, as it is not considered a key element. Autopsies are only compulsory when the cause of death is unclear, making it difficult to determine causation. In cases where the cause of death is obvious, such as a car accident where a victim dies upon impact, an autopsy is not necessary.

However, it can be challenging to establish causation, especially in medical malpractice cases, making an autopsy a valuable tool to prove a wrongful death claim. Fortunately, our experienced Baltimore wrongful death attorneys can help you determine whether an autopsy will be useful in proving your case. Because of the importance of causation in wrongful death claims, an autopsy can be a crucial factor in building a strong case.

In every successful wrongful death case, it is essential to establish the responsible party’s negligence. This requires demonstrating that the defendant had a duty to exercise reasonable care, such as the duty of care doctors owe their patients. Additionally, it is necessary to prove that the defendant breached this duty through either a negligent action or by failing to act.

The next crucial element is establishing the cause of death. It is important to demonstrate how the defendant’s breach of duty directly resulted in the victim’s demise. Autopsy reports play a vital role in cases where the cause of death might not be immediately apparent. They can provide compelling evidence that strengthens your case and supports your claim for justice.

After a wrongful death, it is essential to provide evidence of the actual harm you have suffered. This involves showing that the passing of the victim resulted in measurable financial losses, such as expenses incurred for medical care, as well as the absence of emotional support and companionship. You can also claim funeral and burial expenses as part of your damages.

Who Determines When an Autopsy is Done in a Maryland Wrongful Death Case?

In Maryland, whenever someone dies as a result of a homicide, suicide, drowning, under suspicious circumstances, or if an apparently healthy individual is found dead on arrival at the hospital, the state automatically conducts an autopsy. Additionally, a state medical examiner will also conduct an autopsy in cases where the deaths are sudden, unexpected, or unexplained.

However, the state’s resources are limited, and they will not perform an autopsy on many individuals brought in. Sometimes, you will need to procure your own doctor to perform an autopsy. A state-licensed physician or a hospital pathologist can perform an autopsy, but only with permission from the family of the deceased in cases that are not under the jurisdiction of a medical examiner. Before an autopsy can be performed in a non-medical examiner case, the next of kin must grant permission.

If you are seeking compensation for a wrongful death, it is crucial to have all the necessary evidence. Thus, it might be necessary to request a private autopsy at your own expense. This will help ensure you have all the relevant information needed to prove your case and get the justice you deserve.

Our Maryland Wrongful Death Attorneys Can Help Determine if an Autopsy is Necessary in Your Case

Call Rice, Murtha & Psoras today at (410) 694-7291 for a free review of your case with our Aberdeen wrongful death attorneys.