It’s normal to seek answers for questions surrounding a loved one’s death. Autopsy can provide some of those answers, especially the cause of death, but that’s not all an autopsy can do. The procedure can clear up inconsistencies in the original death report and help hold the responsible party accountable for their actions if the death resulted from violence or negligence.
The following factors should be taken into account when considering whether or not to approve an optional autopsy. These things will answer many important questions about the autopsy, and your Florida wrongful death attorney can answer any related questions about your wrongful death claim.
|If you lost a loved one in an accident and are considering autopsy, call Lytal, Reiter, Smith, Ivey & Fronrath at (561) 655-1990.|
1. You should have the procedure performed as soon as possible
When you have lost a loved one to a tragic accident, it is helpful to get the autopsy performed as soon as possible. The purpose of the autopsy is to prove why a person passed away, from both a scientific and medical perspective, and the autopsy can be an important piece of evidence in support of your case in court.
The longer the time before an autopsy is performed, the less reliable the information produced will be, and the less helpful it will be to your case in court.
2. The state will usually cover the cost
In Florida, the cost of an autopsy that was ordered by a coroner or medical examiner will be covered by the county where the person died. As you can imagine, this comes as a relief for many families who otherwise may not be able to afford the procedure (most autopsies fall in the $2,000 – $5,000 range).
In the event of accidental death, and in other instances where autopsy is not required under state law, the medical examiner or coroner may not order an autopsy. If this happens but you believe another party may have caused the accident that led to the death of your loved one, you may have to pay for an autopsy.
If you believe someone else caused your loved one’s death, you should hire a wrongful death attorney. If a wrongful death attorney believes you have a case, they’ll often front all of the expenses associated with your claim, and only recover reimbursement if they win.
3. “Pending” death certificates
When a wrongful death occurs and an autopsy has been ordered, it can take weeks or even months before the autopsy report is completed. During this time, the death certificate is “pending,” which means the cause of death has not been officially announced.
When a toxicology test is required, the amount of time can be increased as the results require additional expert analysis.
Once the medical examiner’s office completes the process, the next of kin is provided with a copy of the autopsy report. The report will either confirm or contradict the death certificate and its contents, determining whether or not another party was responsible and whether or not you have a wrongful death claim.
4. You can still hold a funeral and open casket
While an autopsy is a medical procedure, it is important to know that it will not disfigure your loved one in any way that would impact the funeral. Medical examiners respect the deceased patients they work with, and will do their best to maintain the composition of the body so you and your loved ones can hold funeral services.
Your ability to say farewell to your loved one through funeral services will not be impacted by the autopsy, and you may learn information that will support justice on your lost loved one’s behalf.
Did you lose a loved one? Our firm can help.
Families in mourning deserve time to remember and reflect on the life of their loved one. They shouldn’t have to worry about going into debt from paying exorbitant medical bills and autopsy fees.
If your loved one died in an accident, call our firm for legal assistance. We’ll work to uncover the cause of your loved one’s death, and if someone else was responsible, we’ll work to hold them accountable. Call (561) 655-1990 now for a free case consultation.