So the central conceit of my story is that everyone has various superhuman powers in modern day America, and one of the powers that everyone has is a superhuman healing factor. Anything we'd classify as a scrape or bruise or other minor damage heals within the hour, any really severe tissue damage will be healed within 24 hours if it doesn't kill you before then, and any completely lost body parts will regrow completely within a week.

Now, the various other superpowers humans now have access to obviously wreak lots of havoc and completely change how society operates, but for this question I wanted to focus on how this particular power affects one particular aspect of life:

Does the fact that damage rapidly heals on any human still alive make things harder in any significant way for criminal investigations to go forward? Are there any crimes that can't be investigated or prosecuted without physical evidence that, as an unfortunate side-effect, this power would quickly destroy? Would it demand any drastic changes to how the justice system works to deal with the rapidly-vanishing proof that certain crimes, like assault, even occurred?


2 Answers 2


Even after death, there's still skin cells alive and they take longer to cease their metabolic activities. Small scratches on a dead body would vanish when the forensics analyze the dead. With that in mind, I can think of a self-defense homicide being charged as murder.

In some cases, to prove self-defense you would need to have bruises and scratches on the accused, which would have healed by the times the cops arrive, probably. Also, let's imagine that what resulted in death was a stabbing in the chest after a fight. Completely justified in a self-defense scenario, but there's no evidence of the said fight on the dead body and all the forensics can guess by examining the body is a cold stab in the heart without the chance of defense by the deceased, which is far from the truth.

Also, a cop arrives at a crime scene, first responder. He sees scratches on the victim's wrist and immediately realizes that the murderer must be minutes away from him. He has to decide whether he chases the criminal, performs CPR or secures the scene.

As you said, assault allegations could not be proved by examining the body, but maybe there's enough inflammatory cells and cytokines in the bloodstream that could indicate that there was an injury that was healed. Victims could lie about the trauma mechanics, self-inflict injuries to frame someone and it would be a really hard scenario for the justice system to work around.

Corrupt cops could beat up and inflict pain on criminals as there would be no evidence of said abuse after they arrive at the police department. Torture would be a normal practice to extract information as long they waited enough time for the criminal to heal.


Physical injuries won't be the only evidence left behind by an assault. In modern day society CCTV is ubiquitous, so there will be good chance that it was recorded on video. In such a case any bruises remaining would be much less important to verifying the event.

But, it may also be that culturally assault and battery become less serious crimes, if the only result of it is effectively "minor inconvenience". Especially if the culture has evolved into a more "macho" one, where physical altercation is accepted due to the effective healing.

But on other hand rapid healing doesn't necessarily mean any lesser pain during the event. In our society inflicting pain on someone, even without any permanent or even temporary injury is still a pretty serious event. So you could take it either way and justify it.


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