Is autopsy required in a wrongful death case?

Losing a loved one in an incident that wasn’t their fault is an extremely difficult experience. Wrongful death claims can help ease the financial burden, as you may receive compensation for burial and funeral expenses, damages for pain and suffering, and more.

However, you should know whether an autopsy is necessary to collect the full damages you may be entitled to. A Chicago wrongful death attorney with Horwitz, Horwitz & Associates is available to review your case and help you find answers.

is an autopsy required

Purpose of an autopsy

An autopsy is a procedure where a trained forensic pathologist completes a detailed medical examination of a deceased person’s body. The purpose of an autopsy is not only to identify the cause of death but also to identify diseases, medical conditions, and injuries.

Autopsy can establish the clear cause of your loved one’s death and can potentially link the death to the reckless actions of someone else.

Depending on your situation, this can help you collect compensation from the party responsible for the wrongful death.

Keep in mind that to collect compensation in your wrongful death case, your Chicago wrongful death attorney needs to prove negligence. This is a complex legal term that your attorney will apply to the unique facts and circumstances of your case. 

When autopsy is required in Illinois

When the cause of death is suspected to be the following, an autopsy is required:

  • Violent death from homicide or suicide
  • Sudden or violent death due to accident, including deaths caused by or contributed to by traumatic, chemical, thermal, electrical, or radiation injury
  • Death due to drowning or suffocation
  • Domestic violence deaths
  • Unexplained deaths
  • Deaths where alcohol or any drug may have been a contributing cause
  • A death in which the decedent had not been attended to by a physician

If an autopsy isn’t required in the death of your loved one, you may be able to have one performed by a private qualified physician to help prove your wrongful death case.

Deaths that occur under suspicious, obscure, or unexplained circumstances

Unknown deaths are especially important to investigate through an autopsy. It can help identify whether some unknown accident or contributing cause that led to death poses a risk to others.

Deaths that occur while the person was apprehended or taken into custody by law enforcement

Deaths as a result of police brutality might entitle the surviving loved ones to punitive damages against the law enforcement officer and the agency that employed them. 

This has been demonstrated in a number of widely-covered cases. Your wrongful death attorney can apply related police brutality precedents in support of your case.

Children who die in suspicious or unexplained circumstances

The health and welfare of children are especially important and will be taken into account by the coroner. Autopsy results may yield evidence of abuse or neglect, which can prove valuable in support of your wrongful death claim on behalf of your child.

Contact a Chicago wrongful death lawyer today

Connecting with a wrongful death attorney as soon as possible can take the stress of the claim out of your day-to-day life. Your wrongful death lawyer collects evidence, drafts the claim, and negotiates the best possible settlement on your behalf. If the other party refuses to make a fair settlement, we will take them to court.

To consult with an attorney on your wrongful death claim through a risk-free, cost-free assessment,  connect with Horwitz, Horwitz & Associates to schedule a consultation, or call (800) 985-1819 to discuss your options.