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Forensic Science often plays a crucial role in wrongful death lawsuits

On Behalf of | Feb 2, 2024 | Wrongful Death |

The loss of a loved one is often one of the most challenging and defining events that families face. It may be further complicated if the death was caused by others’ negligence. In the interest of clarity and closure, families often seek answers for how it happened and hold the negligent party legally accountable for their actions or inactions.

In the realm of legal disputes, particularly those involving the tragic circumstance of a wrongful death, forensic science serves as a cornerstone for uncovering the truth and seeking justice. Legal systems enable the deceased’s family to seek compensation for their loss through a wrongful death claim. Successful claims meet the burden of proof by establishing that another’s actions caused the death and that those actions were negligent or wrongful.

A vital part of the investigation

The investigative power of forensic science is crucial in laying out a strong case. Key components include:

  • Determining the cause of death: Autopsies and other forensic examinations by toxicologists or others are conducted to establish the cause of death. These findings are crucial in differentiating between natural causes, accidental death, and negligent or reckless behavior.
  • Evidence collection and analysis: Forensic teams meticulously collect and analyze evidence from the scene. This scientific approach ensures that investigators consider all relevant material when piecing together the events that led to the death.
  • Incident reconstruction: As discussed in a previous blog focused on motor vehicle crashes, forensic specialists can often reconstruct the events leading to death, providing a clearer picture of the incident. Reconstruction can be used in various circumstances (including boating accidents, workplace injuries, medical malpractice, or premises liability) and be pivotal in identifying the presence of negligence or foul play.

Forensic science in the courtroom

The plaintiff’s legal team will use a law enforcement report as part of its investigation, but the team may also include expert witnesses or investigators. Attorneys may call upon forensic experts to provide testimony in court. Their insights, based on scientific analysis, can significantly influence the outcome of a wrongful death case.

The objective findings from forensic investigations lend credibility to wrongful death claims, often swaying jury opinions in favor of the bereaved family. It also provides concrete evidence instrumental in challenging the defense’s claims.

Provides closure

Forensic science provides the factual backbone needed to support such cases. By shining a light on the circumstances surrounding these tragic events, forensic evidence helps ensure that the accountable are held responsible, offering solace to the families affected by such profound loss. It also enables families to secure damages for the survivors, which can be vital in financially supporting the family as they turn the page.