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Indiana State Coroners Training Board

CTB > Resources Resources

When is a death a coroner's case?
What are the requirements to become a coroner?
What are the requirements to become a deputy coroner?
How to take the 40-hour Medicolegal Death Investigation Training
What are the duties of a county coroner?

Answers:
At the death scene
For survivors
Investigations

Other Resources:
Coroners Training Board's Final Administrative Rule
CoronerME
Indiana State Coroners Association

When is a death a coroner's case?

Everyone would say homicide, and yes, that is correct. Suicides and all accidents are also to be investigated by the coroner. But by far the largest segment of the deaths to be investigated by the coroner is in the natural manner.

Most county health departments report a one percent death rate in each county per year. Of this total, the coroner investigates about 12 percent of the cases. So if you have 200,000 people in your county and one percent die this year, then you will have 2,000 deaths. The coroners will then investigate about 240 cases with 60-70 percent of these natural deaths.

Natural deaths include people who have no attending physician to sign the death certificate. It is also composed of those individuals who die suddenly and unexpectedly, even though they have been seen recently by a physician. They include individuals who have affected their health by the use of drugs or alcohol.

All deaths of inmates while incarcerated or when the eventual cause of death is found to have originated while the victim was incarcerated is another type of death that is investigated by the coroner. Deaths of individuals who die of a disease that might constitute a threat to public health are also reviewed.

Deaths of people whose bodies are to be cremated, buried at sea, transported out of state, or otherwise are unavailable for pathological study must be reviewed by the coroner. Deaths of transplant surgery donors that are the result of some type of trauma are also reviewed.

What are the requirements to become a coroner?

As with all other constitutionally elected officers, one need to be an elector of the county, and a resident for one year in order to be elected. The coroner does not perform autopsies (unless he or she is also a board-certified pathologist).

The coroner is an administrator above all else. By living locally and being elected, the corner is answerable to the people. The coroner has innumerable experts to call upon to help them render a decision. The Indiana State Coroners Training Board has been established and funded to provide 40 hours of basic training and 16 hours of annual continuing education for coroners to assist them in the administration of their duties, and establish mandatory training leading to certification.

What are the requirements to become a deputy coroner?

A deputy Coroner is an appointed or hired position by the coroner. Which after they are appointed or hired, they must attend a 40-hour Medicolegal Death Investigators Course and become certified in the state of Indiana within one (1) year of appointment.

How to take the 40-hour Medicolegal Death Investigation Training

In order to attend the 40-hour Medicolegal Death Investigators training you must be a duly elected coroner or appointed or hired deputy coroner.

What are the duties of your county coroner?

Duties of the coroner include:

1. IDENTIFICATION of the deceased;
2. Determination of the CAUSE of death; and
3. Determination of the MANNER of death.

IDENTIFICATION may be as easy as having a family member at the scene when you get there or as difficult as having only a few bones to work with and having to utilize one of the many experts available to your coroner.

CAUSE of death is the final factor or event that happened to the deceased. If this had not happened, the individual would still be alive. This may be a cascade of factors or events, one following the other and this will be reflected on the death certificate that your coroner files with the county health department

As an example:

A. asphyxia (inability to breathe), due to
B. chest compression, due to
C. settling of automobile, due to
D. failure of jacking apparatus.

This group of factors is referred to as the mechanism, which lead to the asphyxia, which is the cause of death.

MANNER of death is a descriptive grouping. It is, however, a firmly set, universally accepted acknowledgement of how people die. These possibilities are:

A. homicide;
B. suicide;
C. accident;
D. natural; and
E. undetermined.