Forensic, General & Medical
Expert Witnesses

Using a Forensic Pathologist as an Expert Witness


The need for a forensic pathologist arises in the understanding of death in certain situations, how the person died and when there is confusion about the circumstances of the passing. While some cases use medical examiners, others rely on an expert witness to discuss and detail out certain aspects that are confusing or lacking in more specifics.

For both civil and criminal investigations, there are unknown circumstances that could revolve around the death of someone in the family or a friend. In civil litigation, the expert may need to explain the situation for a claim against a company or person for a wrongful death suit. In criminal cases, this is to pursue justice against the accused perpetrator. Without the expert witness to remove confusion, the case may lead to complications that the judge or jury cannot understand or determine a suitable outcome for the specific details that remain unclear.

What is Forensic Pathology?

Forensic pathology is often for professional use in piecing together the clues in a case where the death occurred. Forensic pathologists generally have a background in medicine or in dealing with dead bodies. These experts will certify the death and may explain the details of what happened during, before or after the person died. When the forensic pathologist becomes involved in the case, he or she may need to explain and lay out f the aspects of the death for better clarification. This could include the cause of death if foul play happened and other information that could supply the plaintiff or prosecutor with the weapon of attack.

The Cause of Death Explained

Through the forensic pathologist, it is often possible to determine and explain the cause of death. By understanding the circumstances of the death, the prosecution or plaintiff may determine if the defendant has any connection to the incident. In instances of murder, the prosecution must prove without a shadow of doubt that the accused did kill the victim. To prove this, the expert will determine the cause of death and how this is relevant to the case. Supporting evidence may arise to show that the alleged perpetrator is the killer. By showing the cause of death, the prosecuting lawyer may connect this piece of information to the other proof. Such as stab wounds with the murder weapon.

In civil litigation, the cause of death will help the plaintiff in collecting compensation for a wrongful death suit. It is important to acquire this from the accused through a successful outcome in the claim to compensate for the lack of income that the deceased provided to the family or other dependents. Additional complications may arise if the dependents are not related to the deceased, but they received monetary or other care from him or her. Then, it is important to determine who should receive the awards and how much in amount or percentage. Evidence through the cause of death may provide additional proof that the defendant is the killer.

The Criminal Case with the Forensic Pathologist

The case where a forensic pathologist is necessary may require the defending against allegations in the courtroom with the defendant. He or she should hire a criminal defense lawyer to refute the charges. With the expert witness working for the legal team, it is possible to demonstrate to the judge or jury that the individual did not commit murder or have any involvement in the death of the victim. The cause of death and surrounding circumstances could exonerate him or her. A solid alibi may also indicate that the prosecution has little evidence or supporting facts to pursue the criminal case against the defendant.

The Civil Case with the Forensic Pathologist

In a wrongful death case, the plaintiff would need to prove that the defendant did commit murder, have involvement in the death or was part of the circumstances. Through proving this, it is possible to acquire compensation for the surviving family or dependents to recover from the loss of wages the person earned and supplied. It is necessary to hire a lawyer, and he or she may communicate with the expert to provide testimony that engages the courtroom and increases chances of full knowledge for appropriate deliberation.

The Testimony of the Forensic Pathologist

Once the expert witness analyzes the facts and evidence, he or she may determine his or her opinion. By concluding his or her processes, he or she will present testimony. The jury usually has confidence in him or her and may take this into account when deliberating.


Provided by HG.org


Disclaimer: While every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy of this publication, it is not intended to provide legal advice as individual situations will differ and should be discussed with an expert and/or lawyer.

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