In a wrongful death case, the main thing the jury will want to know is what caused the death of the person. A pathologist is usually called to provide this information. A pathologist is an expert doctor who specializes in understanding the cause of death of a person. The pathologist will perform an autopsy, which is a clinical examination of the individual's body. When the autopsy is undertaken and done, the main purpose would be to evaluate and find out why the person died.
Why is an Autopsy Done?
An autopsy is a procedure where the pathologist carries out an in-depth examination of the dead body. The doctor will examine all the major internal organs such as heart, brain, liver, lungs, spleen, and kidneys to gather evidence that might point towards the cause of death. All findings are then put in proper perspective and a final report is made that will reveal how the person could have died, or what caused the person to die.
Once the cause of death is known, it can indicate whether there was medical wrongdoing or whether there was some other cause for the person to die. An autopsy might not necessarily reveal a wrongdoing, but will provide the facts about how the person died. Hence, an autopsy can help in proving a wrongful death claim, or it will show that the medical procedures or drugs did not play any part in the person's death. Due to the unprejudiced nature of the autopsy report, it is considered a crucial piece of evidence in a wrongful death case.
The Need for a Pathologist at a Wrongful Death Trail
Once a pathologist carries out an autopsy and is able to ascertain the cause of death, then at the trail, the pathologist would be the best person to explain to the jury, how the person died. If the doctor who did the autopsy is not available, then another pathology expert can be called to read and interpret the pathology report to the jury. He will be able to explain to the jury, what it was that caused the person to die.
In a wrongful death case, it is critical for the jury to understand how the person died. The pathologist is called as an expert witness to clearly explain this, and point out the exact cause of death. You cannot simply take the autopsy report and submit into evidence. You need an expert doctor such as a pathologist to come and explain to the jury what the report and its medical terminology actually means.
The pathologist will not only have to reveal the findings to the jury, but also explain in detail what the significance of those findings was. This is very critical to the case and that is why you need an expert coming in and explaining to the jury the cause of death.
The cause of death will reveal whether there was any wrongdoing, and what part the wrongdoing played in the person's death. Based on this the jury will be able to pass a proper judgment about a wrongful death claim.
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