Psychological Autopsies in Court
Litman R E
The crucial concept for defining suicide is intention. A major purpose of the psychological autopsy is to clarify the pre-mortem intentions of the victim, now deceased. This article reports cases in which the issue of suicide vs. accident came to trial because insurance benefits were at issue. Currently, the courts, in considering to what extent mental disorders impair the capacity for intentional self destruction, evaluate each case independently according to its own unique set of facts.