What does a Coroner do?
Direct activities such as autopsies, pathological and toxicological analyses, and inquests relating to the investigation of deaths occurring within a legal jurisdiction to determine cause of death or to fix responsibility for accidental, violent, or unexplained deaths.
- Perform medicolegal examinations and autopsies, conducting preliminary examinations of the body to identify victims, locate signs of trauma, and identify factors that would indicate time of death.
- Inquire into the cause, manner, and circumstances of human deaths and establish the identities of deceased persons.
- Complete death certificates, including the assignment of cause and manner of death.
- Observe and record the positions and conditions of bodies and related evidence.
- Collect and document any pertinent medical history information.
- Observe, record, and preserve any objects or personal property related to deaths, including objects such as medication containers and suicide notes.
- Complete reports and forms required to finalize cases.
- Remove or supervise removal of bodies from death scenes, using the proper equipment and supplies, and arrange for transportation to morgues.
- Interview persons present at death scenes to obtain information useful in determining the manner of death.
- Testify at inquests, hearings, and court trials.
- Provide information concerning the circumstances of death to relatives of the deceased.
- Locate and document information regarding the next of kin, including their relationship to the deceased and the status of notification attempts.
- Confer with officials of public health and law enforcement agencies to coordinate interdepartmental activities.
- Inventory personal effects recovered from bodies, such as jewelry or wallets.
- Coordinate the release of personal effects to authorized persons and facilitate the disposition of unclaimed corpses and personal effects.
- Arrange for the next of kin to be notified of deaths.
- Record the disposition of minor children, as well as details of arrangements made for their care.
- Collect wills, burial instructions, and other documentation needed for investigations and for handling of the remains.
- Witness and certify deaths that are the result of a judicial order.
- Direct activities of workers conducting autopsies, performing pathological and toxicological analyses, and preparing documents for permanent records.