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Full text of "Medical Jurisprudence And Toxicology"

PRESUMPTION OF SURVIVORSHIP                                       145

survived the other or others, such deaths shall (subject to any order of the
court), for all purposes affecting the title to property, be presumed to have
occurred in order of seniority, and accordingly the younger shall be deemed
to have survived the elder. It is, however, open to the parties interested to
show by evidence in court that one in fact survived the other or others.
The law of India does not recognize any presumption regarding the proba-
bilities of survivorship among persons whose death is occasioned by one and
the same cause, and the courts are influenced in establishing the survivor-
ship in such cases by the facts and evidence, where available. In the absence
of such evidence the following conditions may be taken into consideration
in determining the question of survivorship with some reasonable
certainty:—

Injury.—Wounds, even if small and insignificant, inflicted on the vital
organs or main blood vessels, are likely to produce death much earlier than
injuries, even though extensive, inflicted on those parts of the body which
are not vital.

Age.—Adults have the power of resistance against a common danger
more than the young and the old, and it is, therefore, presumed that the
former will survive the latter but much will depend on the mode of death.

Sex.—Males, being stronger, are presumed to survive longer than
females, but when there is a question of physical endurance females will
live longer than males, as the former can withstand severe physical strain
better than the latter.

Constitution.—Vigorous and healthy individuals are ordinarily presumed
to live longer than the weak and those debilitated from disease.

Mode of Death.—The following modes of death should be particularly

discussed: —                ^

Drowning,—Females may be presumed to survive longer than males,
as the former are more likely to faint from dread, which delays asphyxia.
However, in cases where there has been a struggle for life, men being
stronger will probably survive women, and those who know swimming
will five longer than those who do not. In cases where bodies are recov-
ered from water the presence of severe injuries is likely to be regarded
as a plea against survivorship, and evidence of an attempt to save others,
as shown by the position of two bodies, will be strong proof of survivor-
ship.

Suffocation.—In a common accident such as that occurring from the
debris of a fallen roof, persons who have least injuries, and who are nearer
the surface and consequently not buried deep under the debris, are pre-
sumed to have died last.

Asphyxia from want of Oxygen or from Irrespirable Gases.—-Women
consume less oxygen and are, therefore, supposed to live longer than men
in an atmosphere containing a less amount of oxygen. Again, an indivi-
dual will be required to consume more oxygen if he were to make a mus-
cular effort to escape the danger, as he will be more liable to the danger
than one who is inactive and makes no exertion.

Starvation.—Fatty persons have a better chance of outliving the lean,
as they can live on their fat for some time. Again, one deprived of food
alone will live longer than one deprived of both food and water, as water
alone enables a person to live for many days. In the case of children^
adults and old people exposed to starvation, children will die first,; Uiea
adults and lastly the old, as the old require less nourishment than           '

and adults less than children.   In the same manner women
food than men and can beat starvation longer and better.
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