We need help on how do we go about finding out why there was not a autopsy performed on my dad when he died
8 attorney answers
You would have to ask for an autopsy ASAP. That's job one.
Autopsies (performed by the authorities) are discretionary. But you can nudge them. If not then you can pay for a private autopsy.
I second the recommendation that the circumstances of the death are important to any claim (e.g. workers' compensation). If the decedent is buried without an autopsy, then establishing a cause of death that results in liability for whoever (if anyone) was responsible would be highly difficult.
Generally in the U.S. autopsies are performed when there is suspicion of foul play, when there is some public health concern, like a mysterious disease, if someone dies unattended by a physician, or if the attending physician is uncomfortable signing the death certificate.
Even if none of these conditions apply, the next-of-kin can request an autopsy. If an experimental treatment was being used, if a patient dies unexpectedly during a procedure that is rarely life-threatening, or if there are concerns about genetic implications, the state or the next-of-kin may decide to request this. An autopsy may also be performed when there are implications affecting insurance payouts.
Individual jurisdictions may have additional circumstances in which an autopsy is required. Some religious groups are opposed to autopsies and some require that a person in authority from that religion is present during the proceedings to ensure that their religious tenets are not compromised.
An autopsy may be required in deaths that have medical and legal issues and that must be investigated by the medical examiner's or coroner's office, the governmental office that is responsible for investigating deaths that are important to the public's health and welfare. Deaths that must be reported to and investigated by the medical examiner's or coroner's office can vary by state and may include those that have occurred:
Suddenly or unexpectedly, including the sudden death of a child or adult, or the death of a person who was not under the care of a doctor at the time of death.
As a result of any type of injury, including a fall, motor vehicle accident (MVA), drug overdose, or poisoning.
Under suspicious circumstances, such as a suicide or murder.
Under other circumstances defined by law.
In some of these deaths an autopsy may be required, and the coroner or medical examiner has the legal authority to order an autopsy without the consent of the deceased person's family (next of kin). If an autopsy is not required by law, it cannot be performed unless the deceased person's family gives permission.
The materials available at this web site are for informational purposes only and not for the purpose of providing legal advice. You should contact your attorney to obtain advice with respect to any particular issue or problem. Use of and access to this Web site or any of the e-mail links contained within the site do not create an attorney-client relationship between Howard Roitman, Esq. and the user or browser. The opinions expressed at or through this site are the opinions of the individual author and may not reflect the opinions of the firm or any individual attorney.
Sorry, I didn't see this question first, so forget the justice of the peace stuff in the other response. The doctor signing the death certificate isn't always the same doctor that treated the patient. If this is an event that just occurred and your father's body is still at the hospital you can ask for an autopsy. Talk to someone in the administrators office, or social services. If the body has been moved to a funeral home, talk to the funeral director immediately about your desire for an autopsy.
If this is an event that isn't current, then you have a much more difficult decision to make as to whether you wan to exhume the body to perform an autopsy.
That question can't be answered at all in this forum without knowing what you are concerned about and why you think an autopsy is necessary. Speak with a lawyer in Corpus about your concerns.
I'm sorry about your loss.
You can request an autopsy through the hospital. I also suggest that you find out if your father's employer was a Workers' Compensation subscriber. If so, and depending on his cause of death, his survivors may be able to apply for death benefits.
Medical malpractice cases are complex and I believe that clients are best served by contacting an experienced medical malpractice attorney. After all, results matter! You are welcome to contact me at 281-580-8800 or www.painterfirm.com. This Avvo comment does not create an attorney-client relationship and is for informational purposes only.
You need to clarify your question. My family has a law firm in Corpus Christi if you need to call a lawyer there.
All responses on this site by this attorney are considered practical & general and does not constitute absolute or final legal advice. It is always best to consult a lawyer in your area on your exact case/claim. Each state has different laws, statutes of limitations and regulations. This lawyer is only licensed in the State of Texas. If this information has been helpful, please indicate below. I hope my information is helpful to you. If you think this post was a good answer, please click the "Good Answer" button below and/or designate my answer as the "BEST ANSWER". This is a general response to a question for basic information and is not legal advice. Legal advice can only be given when all of the facts of your situation are discussed with a lawyer, which we have not done.. If you reside outside the State of Texas please understand that the laws may be different from the laws that I may cite in a my comment. This comment is not to be construed as legal advice to your particular situation because there are many factors that influence legal counseling- this is simply a comment. Response to an email does not create an attorney-client relationship between you and the Law Offices of GREGG S. HARRISON, PLLC, nor any of its attorneys. If you send us an e-mail, or call us, and we do not already represent you, neither your e-mail inquiry nor telephone call will create an attorney-client relationship. E-mails cannot necessarily be treated as privileged or confidential. Only entering into a written legal services contract with the Law Office of GREGG S. HARRISON PLLC. will create an attorney-client relationship. There is no substitute for one-on-one legal advice and you are urged to meet with an attorney and discuss your case, personally, with an attorney in the state in which you reside or your case occurred. Thank you. GREGG HARRISON. Visit our website at www.greggharrison.com or call 832-797-7600 to discuss your legal issue; We represent injured persons who have been involved in motor vehicle collisions, 18-wheeler/truck wrecks and motorcycle accidents; all types of general negligence and catastrophic injury claims.
In California, unattended deaths are usually autopsied. I would check with the coroner and the county authorities to check on why none was accomplished with him. If the body has not been destroyed, an autopsy (private) could still be obtained.
Sign up to receive a 3-part series of useful information and advice about personal injury law.