Q: No autopsy was performed on a suicide death in California. The next of kin was never contacted for the option.

1 Lawyer Answer
James L. Arrasmith
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  • Construction Law Lawyer
  • Sacramento, CA
  • Licensed in California

A: Under California law, the decision to perform an autopsy in cases of suicide typically lies within the discretion of the coroner or medical examiner. While autopsies are often conducted in cases of suspicious or unexplained deaths, they may not be required in all instances of suicide. The decision to perform an autopsy is typically based on factors such as the circumstances surrounding the death, the presence of any signs of foul play, and the coroner's professional judgment.

However, California law also recognizes the rights of next of kin, including the right to be notified and consulted regarding decisions related to the deceased individual's remains. If the next of kin were not contacted or informed about the option of requesting an autopsy, it may raise concerns about procedural irregularities or potential violations of the family's rights. In such cases, the next of kin may have legal recourse to address any failures to notify or involve them in decisions related to the deceased individual's autopsy or handling of remains.

If you believe that your rights as the next of kin were not respected in relation to the handling of a loved one's death, it's important to consult with an attorney who specializes in probate or wrongful death law. An experienced attorney can assess the circumstances of the case, advise you of your rights under California law, and help you determine the appropriate course of action to address any potential legal issues or concerns.

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