When a patient dies or suffers a negative medical outcome, their families often find that physicians and hospitals are less than forthcoming about the details. In many cases, this is because they want to shield themselves from liability in case the patient or her family decides to pursue a medical malpractice or wrongful death lawsuit.

The irony with this approach, however, is that a lack of answers may be why such a lawsuit is pursued in the first place. If doctors and hospitals won’t disclose details on their own, a lawsuit becomes necessary. This appears to be among the reasons why the daughter of comedienne Joan Rivers is pursuing a wrongful death lawsuit against the physicians and clinic that treated her mother just before she died.

In her grief immediately after Joan’s death, Melissa Rivers declined to have an autopsy performed. She reportedly regrets that decision, and now wants access to her mother’s medical records as a means of discovering just how her mother died and whether or not it was due to medical negligence.

So far, there have been some significant allegations and accusations made about Joan Rivers’ personal throat doctor and the clinic she attended, but nothing has really been verified at this point. There appear to be more questions than answers right now, which is likely why Melissa Rivers has hired a law firm to begin the initial steps of a wrongful death lawsuit.

Nearly every personal injury or wrongful death suit seeks money. And even if that’s the primary objective, there’s certainly nothing wrong with seeking compensation. But in this case, it appears as though Melissa Rivers primarily needs answers and closure, and a wrongful death lawsuit may be the best way to get those.

Source: Forbes, “Why Did Joan Rivers Die? Melissa Rivers Seeks Answers,” Danielle and Andy Mayoras, Oct. 29, 2014