Find coroners, medical examiners, morgues, city, county, and state examiners. Coroners and medical examiners provide information on death reports, medical autopsies, forensic pathology, and toxicology records.
Coroners and Medical Examiners are responsible for determining a deceased person's cause, time, and manner of death, typically when the death was sudden, unexpected, or no attending physician was present. Coroners and Medical Examiners also determine the cause of death in cases of suspicious or violent death. The determinations made by Coroners and Medical Examiners may be used to aid in criminal investigations, settle estates, resolve insurance claims, or identify threats to public health.
The criteria for requiring investigations of deaths vary significantly across the states. Almost all states require investigations when a death is suspicious, unusual, or unnatural, and most require investigations of suicides and accidental deaths.
Coroners and Medical Examiners are organized at the county, regional, and state level. Depending on the jurisdiction, the Coroner or Medical Examiner may also be responsible for identifying the body, notifying the next of kin, collecting and returning personal belongings on the body to family, and signing the death certificate.
Though the terms are used interchangeably, there is a considerable difference between Coroners and Medical Examiners. Most notably, Coroners are not usually required to have any medical training. Often, the Coroner is an elected position with no special requirements other than reaching legal age and not having been convicted of any felonies. As a result, some of the Coroner's medical duties, such as performing autopsies, may be delegated to medical professionals within the Coroner's office or outsourced to other entities.
Virtually all Medical Examiners are required to be pathologists, often with a specialty in forensic pathology. Medical Examiners are appointed positions and they are qualified to perform autopsies and other medical aspects of the position. Twenty-one states use Medical Examiners systems organized at the state, county, or district level. Eleven states use the Coroner system, mostly organized at the county level. The remaining eighteen states use a combination of Medical Examiners and Coroners.