Seeking an autopsy for a medical malpractice fatality

On Behalf of | Jul 18, 2022 | Medical Malpractice |

A medical malpractice wrongful death lawsuit requires proving the cause of a patient’s death. This often requires an autopsy to prove the reason why a patient died. Although using an autopsy is not legally required, it’s recommended to provide the basis for a valid lawsuit to be filed in West Virginia.

Obtaining a medical examination

Plaintiffs may need an autopsy to prove that medical negligence occurred. An autopsy is not required but provides an accurate form of proof besides a doctor’s physical examination.

When a suspicious death occurs in a hospital, the administrators may have to request an autopsy. In addition, the patient’s family member or lawyer may request one with an independent coroner or medical examiner. The professional is often not connected with the hospital to avoid manipulating the results of the autopsy.

Filing a claim

A family member or representative can file both a medical malpractice claim and a wrongful death claim. Some states limit the amount of damages that a plaintiff is able to receive in a medical malpractice death lawsuit. The limit in West Virginia is $250,000 for noneconomic damages for each claim.

A wrongful death lawsuit based on medical malpractice will not yield a positive result if the plaintiff cannot prove certain key elements. There needs to be negligence on the part of a health care professional or facility that resulted in the fatality. A doctor’s medical reports may or may not prove the cause of a patient’s death. Presenting the results of an autopsy is one of the methods that plaintiffs use to prove the viability of a claim.

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