A Private Investigator’s Role in Wrongful Death Cases: Uncovering the Truth

Wrongful Death Lawsuits
Learn about wrongful death lawsuits, claims and investigations.

The investigation into celebrity comedian Joan Rivers’s unfortunate death led to several medical malpractice allegations. Sources reported that Joan’s daughter, Melissa Rivers, is planning to file a wrongful death lawsuit against her mother’s physician, pending the official investigation results that will reveal the actual cause of death.

Joan River’s death is said to have been caused by an unauthorized biopsy performed during a routine surgical procedure on her throat. The procedure was performed at Yorkville Endoscopy in New York. Afterward, the outpatient clinic was spotlighted by law enforcement and the media since Joan Rivers was a high-profile celebrity.

On the other hand, close to 100,000 deaths occur every year because of illegal and negligent practices. More often than not, surgeons, doctors, and hospitals associated with medical malpractice claims are protected by high-powered and efficient legal teams, which often discourages people from filing malpractice lawsuits.

What is wrongful death?

Essentially, wrongful death is a petition made against a person or organization when the death of the individual is largely caused by malpractice, wrongdoing, carelessness, or negligence. When wrongful death can be proven, beneficiaries of the victim may be entitled to monetary compensation from the accused person or organization.

Medical malpractice cases are usually arduous and long, drawn-out court battles that can take a while to go to court or be settled. Nonetheless, doctors and hospitals must be brought forward to take responsibility for their actions.

What does a wrongful death investigation involve?

Often, wrongful death investigations might not begin as such. For instance, a private investigator, when conducting a homicide, personal injury, accident, crime scene, or product liability case, might lead to discover a case of wrongful death.

A thorough investigation into a wrongful death case might involve using crime scene and forensics reports, accident reconstruction, and witness testimony to determine the cause of death. Private investigators gather expert, physical, and medical evidence, review police reports, conduct DNA tests, and perform surveillance on concerned parties to uncover the truth.

How a Private Investigator Can Help

A private investigator (PI) can play a crucial role in investigating wrongful death or malpractice cases by gathering evidence, conducting interviews, and uncovering information that may be relevant to the case. Here are some ways a private investigator can assist in such cases:

Interviews and Statements

The PI can interview witnesses, family members, friends, and relevant personnel to gather statements and information about the incident. This includes healthcare professionals if the case involves medical malpractice. Learn more about interviewing techniques.


Surveillance can be conducted to monitor the activities of individuals involved in the case. This can help understand their actions and behaviors leading to and following the incident. Learn more about surveillance techniques that detectives use.

Gathering Evidence

PIs can collect physical evidence that may support or contradict the claims in the case. This can include medical records, photos, videos, and other relevant documentation. Learn more about evidence collection.

Background Checks

Investigating the background of the individuals involved can reveal any previous incidents or patterns of behavior that may be relevant to the case. This can include checking the history of medical professionals involved in a malpractice case. In cases where financial compensation is sought, PIs can assist in identifying and locating hidden assets that may be relevant to the case. Learn more about background checks.

Expert Witnesses

PIs can assist in identifying and locating expert witnesses who can provide professional opinions on the circumstances surrounding the wrongful death or malpractice. These experts can add credibility to the case. Learn more about expert witnesses.

PIs work closely with the legal team to ensure the gathered information aligns with the legal strategy. They may also assist in preparing reports and providing testimony if needed.

It’s important to note that the role of a private investigator should be conducted within the bounds of the law, and any evidence collected should be admissible in court. If you are considering hiring a private investigator, it’s advisable to consult with an attorney to ensure that the investigation is conducted appropriately and per legal requirements.

Creating a detailed timeline of events leading up to the incident and its aftermath is crucial. This can help in identifying any gaps or discrepancies in the narrative.

PIs can review medical records, police reports, and other relevant documents to identify inconsistencies or missing information. This can help in building a comprehensive understanding of the case.

Making a Wrongful Death Claim

Some wrongful death claims can be made without the need to file a lawsuit to be fully compensated for personal loss. Wrongful death claims make a petition to recover wages lost from a work-life abruptly cut short or life lost due to carelessness. Typically, wrongful death claims result in massive monetary settlements after sufficient proof regarding the guilt of the accused party has been presented.

Claims associated with wrongful death must be filed within a certain period after death. With the need to file a complaint within a limited time frame, it is best to hire a private detective or investigator to collect the evidence required to substantiate the allegations.

For instance, in a medical malpractice situation where the patient suffered and passed away because of incorrect medical treatment, medical communities and the organization’s lawyers might argue that an existing condition, not the wrong medicine or dose, caused the death. In addition, lawyers can argue that the death was just an accident and that the doctor or hospital is not liable.


We recommend contacting a qualified attorney with questions about wrongful death lawsuits.

Michael Kissiah is the owner of Brandy Lane Publishing, LLC, which owns and operates a small portfolio of websites, including eInvestigator.com. Michael created eInvestigator.com more than 20 years ago after working as a private investigator in the state of Florida. Since that time, he has become an expert at how to find information online and has written over 1000 articles on topics related to the investigation industry. In addition, he is the author of the "Private Investigator Licensing Handbook", available at Amazon.com.


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