Most people aren’t aware of private death investigations because the deaths they encountered were predictable. But for others who have suffered the sudden loss of a friend of loved one under suspicious circumstances, such investigations can be life changing.
It’s easy to understand why private death investigations are gaining visibility and acceptance. Cause of death is typically determined by a coroner or medical examiner and often influenced by overworked and understaffed law enforcement. In some cases, simple inexperience leads to surprising – and incorrect – outcomes.
Georgia is one of many states that requires little more than a high school diploma to become a county coroner. While a small handful of Georgia coroners have law enforcement or medical experience, the vast majority come from completely unrelated backgrounds. Some earn as little as $1200 monthly for their duties. With no qualifications, little training, and primary jobs demanding their attention, coroners can easily make mistakes.
In one notable case reported by the Atlanta Journal Constitution, the body of a man was discovered in a river with a gunshot shot wound to the head and hands zip-tied behind his back. It was ruled a suicide.
In circumstances like these, private death investigations can bring peace, as well as justice, to a grieving family. The information gained can have a substantial impact on insurance benefits, the victim’s reputation, and sometimes criminal prosecutions.
Private death investigations are also becoming more common in wrongful death cases. A wrongful death is one caused by negligence, carelessness, or other wrongdoing committed by a person, business, or other entity. In cases of wrongful death, beneficiaries may be able to claim compensation for their loss.
There are several different kinds of wrongful death investigations:
Medical malpractice investigations focus on wrongful death caused by negligent care or incorrect treatment.
Workplace investigations involve the victim’s employer and suspected negligence or mismanagement.
Products liability investigations are based on poorly designed or under-tested products.
Accident investigations uncover correct liability for traffic accidents.
Criminal investigations determine malicious criminal actions.
Evidence is critical to proving wrongful death, but it can be difficult to obtain. An experienced investigator is critical, as private investigations do not benefit from the subpoena power used by law enforcement. Information must be gleaned from crime scene forensics, witness interviews, accident reconstruction, police, medical, or business records, even hidden security camera recordings. It’s like solving a jigsaw puzzle when the pieces are hidden all around the house.
Evidence of wrongful death must be obtained legally, properly handled, and meticulously documented to stand up in court, which is why you should always choose an investigator carefully.
Parker Consulting and Investigations brings more than 30 year’s experience with the Georgia Bureau of Investigation to death investigations, ensuring ethical and fully compliant methods plus a history of success.
If you’re suspicious of the circumstances surrounding the death of a loved one, call Parker today. Let us put our skills and experience to work for you.