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When do motor vehicle accident deaths warrant an autopsy?

On Behalf of | Mar 14, 2023 | Wrongful Death

In the wake of an unusual death, it is typical for a coroner to perform or order an autopsy. An autopsy is a medical procedure with the intention of determining the cause of death and other details surrounding a case.

In the event of a motor vehicle accident, an autopsy may provide key evidence for a wrongful death case.

When does a coroner order an autopsy?

According to WebMD, the main purpose of a coroner-ordered autopsy is to investigate suspicious, unnatural or unusual deaths. Unusual deaths may include unknown causes, violent accidents or public health threats.

If a person dies with a doctor in the room who can reasonably determine the cause, the coroner may not order an autopsy.

How an autopsy helps a motor vehicle accident

Autopsies do more than determine the cause of death, they may uncover certain aspects of an accident that led up to it. This may include identifying diseases or conditions a driver suffered from or it may find traces of substance abuse in the deceased’s system. These factors may act as evidence to prove negligence in a wrongful death case.

Private autopsies and wrongful death cases

If a family suspects foul play or even a misdiagnosis on the coroner’s part, they may order a private autopsy. While this is another unexpected expense on top of the healthcare and funeral costs that a wrongful death often demands, it may provide additional clarity.

Wrongful death is a complex issue at an emotionally sensitive time. It is important for anyone in this situation to learn more about their unique case with reliable resources.