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.
You need to clarify your question. My family has a law firm in Corpus Christi if you need to call a lawyer there.
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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.
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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.
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.
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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.
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