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Differences between a Coroner and a Medical Examiner

Differences between a Coroner and a Medical Examiner

There are many similarities between coroners and medical examiners, but there are also some key differences. Both positions are responsible for investigating deaths, but coroners typically handle natural deaths while medical examiners investigate both natural and suspicious deaths. Medical examiners also have more training in pathology and forensics which allows them to perform autopsies and render opinions on the cause of death.

What is a Coroner?

A coroner is a trained medical professional who is responsible for investigating sudden, violent, or unattended deaths. In addition to performing autopsies, coroners also order toxicology tests, review medical records, and interview witnesses. Coroners must be able to work with families of the deceased and must often give testimony in court. Coroners play an important role in our justice system and help to ensure that justice is served.

What is a Medical Examiner?

Medical Examiners are highly trained professionals who are responsible for investigating deaths that occur under suspicious or unknown circumstances. In addition to conducting autopsies, they also collect and analyze evidence, interview witnesses, and review medical records. Medical Examiners often work closely with law enforcement officials to solve crimes, and their findings can be critical in determining whether a death was the result of foul play. As such, Medical Examiners play an important role in ensuring justice is served.

Differences between a Coroner and a Medical Examiner

  • Coroners and medical examiners are both public servants who play an important role in investigating deaths. However, there are some key differences between these two professionals.
  • Coroners are usually elected officials, while medical examiners are appointed. Coroners typically have less medical training than medical examiners, and they may not be required to be licensed physicians.
  • In addition, coroners typically only investigate deaths that are violent, suspicious, or unexplained, while medical examiners investigate all deaths that occur within their jurisdiction. As a result of these differences, coroners and medical examiners fulfill different but vital roles in our society.


A coroner is a law enforcement officer who investigates deaths that are not due to natural causes. A medical examiner is a physician who has special training in pathology and performs autopsies. In most states, the office of medical examiner is also responsible for investigating all sudden, unexpected, or unexplained deaths. If you want to know more about this topic, please check out our other blog post which goes into further detail about coroners and medical examiners.

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