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How to Access Coroner Reports

Updated March 23, 2017

Coroner's reports, also called autopsy reports, are treated in the same manner as other medical reports. The coroner's report is confidential and will only be released to the next-of-kin. This is an entitlement. The report can be released to others who are not next-of-kin, but permission must be given by next-of-kin. If you are not next-of-kin but would like to access the coroner's report, you need to obtain permission from the next-of-kin and write a request to the coroner's office that performed the autopsy.

Obtain a written permission letter from the next-of-kin. It needs to be signed and have the contact information for the next-of-kin. The coroner's assistant will call the next-of-kin to confirm that the permission letter is legit. The letter is for the office's records.

Write a request to obtain the coroner's report. Identify your relationship with the deceased, the full name of the deceased and why you would like a copy of the report.

Provide your personal contact information, so coroner's office personnel can contact you in case they have questions regarding your request or to require a payment before sending the report to you.

Ask for a reason if you are denied access to the coroner's report. While it could be a procedural reason, it could also be a legal matter.

Hire a lawyer if your request to obtain the coroner's report is rejected due to legal reasons. If your reasons for obtaining the coroner's report are pressing or legit even though you are not the next-of-kin by law, a lawyer may be able to act on your behalf.

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About the Author

Based in Toronto, Mary Jane has been writing for online magazines and databases since 2002. Her articles have appeared on the Simon & Schuster website and she received an editor's choice award in 2009. She holds a Master of Arts in psychology of language use from the University of Copenhagen in Denmark.