How Much Do Autopsies Cost In Pennsylvania?


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When a loved one dies unexpectedly, and you’re worried about the actual cause of death, an autopsy could help provide clarity, closure, and accountability to why they passed away. Having an autopsy performed in Pennsylvania usually comes from a coroner’s order, but family members can also request one.

Why Would You Have An Autopsy Performed?

After someone passes away, an autopsy may be done to determine the cause and circumstances of death. While many may associate autopsies with murder and gruesome circumstances, they can also provide insight into other things.

If you think your loved one died due to a work or environmental hazard, an autopsy may help reveal evidence to support this and may lead to compensation for the deceased’s family. If the deceased’s family thinks medical malpractice contributed to their loved one’s death, an autopsy may provide crucial evidence in the case.

Autopsies can help deepen the medical community’s understandings of diseases, such as infectious diseases. Autopsies can also help save others, like when medical examiners realized some cribs contributed to infants’ death.

Who Pays For An Autopsy In Pennsylvania?

The organization or person who orders the autopsy will pay for the procedure in Pennsylvania. For example, if the county coroner orders an autopsy, the local government will cover the cost. However, if a family member requests a private autopsy, they will have to cover the costs. The local Pennsylvania coroner will determine the amount. But if your autopsy provides key legal evidence, you may later receive compensation and damages that can help cover the cost.

When Will A Coroner Order An Autopsy?

Based on Pennsylvania law, specific circumstances require a coroner to order an autopsy. So, before you order one yourself, consider if the coroner will do it.

A coroner will order an autopsy in Pennsylvania when:

  • A person suddenly dies, and the cause is not from a recognizable disease or exact cause that a physician can determine.
  • There are suspicious circumstances around someone’s death, including if alcohol, drugs, or another toxic substance may have been involved. This includes overdoses.
  • The person died as a result of trauma, from either violence, homicide, or suicide.
  • Mechanical, thermal, chemical, electrical, or radiational injury including drowning, cave-in, or subsidence was involved.
  • The death is suspected to be related to an infectious disease.
  • The person died while in prison or in custody of the police.
  • An infant dies unexpectedly or is stillborn.

An autopsy and death certificate will be available to the deceased’s next of kin.

What Should I Do If I Want An Autopsy For A Loved One?

If you’re considering an autopsy for your loved one in hopes of holding someone accountable for their death or receiving damages, reach out to the expert legal team at Ross Feller Casey first. We have an unmatched record of winning all types of wrongful death lawsuits and can help guide you through the process.

We handle all our cases on a contingent basis, so you not pay anything until a financial recovery is made in your case.

Disclaimer: Ross Feller Casey, LLP provides legal advice only after an attorney-client relationship is formed. Our website is an introduction to the firm and does not create a relationship between our attorneys and clients. An attorney-client relationship is formed only after a written agreement is signed by the client and the firm. Because every case is unique, the description of awards and summary of cases successfully handled are not intended to imply or guarantee that same success in other cases. Ross Feller Casey, LLP represents catastrophically injured persons and their families in injury and wrongful death cases, providing legal representation in Pennsylvania and New Jersey.