The autopsy plays a critical role in proving causation in vehicular crashworthiness cases which result in the death of a passenger. Death cases almost always involve substantial impacts that necessarily involve sudden acceleration/deceleration type forces. These forces are virtually unavoidable and are often fatal. Fatal deceleration injuries might include a transected aorta or a brain stem shear. Deceleration type injuries must be ruled out.
The goal of the crashworthiness case is to prove that the faulty design of the vehicle subjected the occupant in an otherwise survivable crash to lethal trauma. It is difficult to accomplish this goal without an autopsy or at the very least an extensive medical workup.
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