Natural & unnatural deaths
People can die from natural causes such as disease or illness, or unnatural causes like accidents or homicide. A coroner might ask for a post mortem to find out if a death had a natural or unnatural cause.
Death by natural causes
A death by natural causes is a death that is primarily caused by a disease or illness not directly influenced by external forces.
If the general practitioner (GP) or doctor is unsure what caused the death, they can’t certify the death and will report it to the coroner. The coroner can then ask for a post mortem to be done, which can help them understand how the person died.
If the post mortem finds that the death was from natural causes, the coroner might decide that an inquiry is not needed. They’ll then issue a coroner’s finding that states when, where and how the person died. This finding will be given to the person’s immediate family.
All deaths that can’t be described as death by natural causes are categorised as unnatural deaths. This includes accidents, homicide, suicide, violent death, falls, poisoning or overdoses (intentional and unintentional) and drowning.
The coroner might ask for a post mortem to understand how the person died. They can also ask for other reports or investigations to be done. Depending on the circumstances of the death, this part of the process can take some time.
The coroner will then look at all of the evidence. The coroner has a number of ways to formally review the evidence, including an inquest or on the papers.
Once the coroner has reviewed the evidence, they’ll issue a coroner’s finding that states who died and where, when and how they died. They will send the finding to the person’s immediate family.
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