Monday, March 8, 2010

Information from the Department of Coroner

Information
from the
County of Los Angeles
Department of Coroner
1104 N. Mission Road
Los Angeles, CA 90033

Business Hours
8:00 a.m. — 5:00 p.m.
(323) 343-0512
After 5:00 p.m.,
Weekends and Holidays
(323) 343-0714

Anthony T. Hernandez,
Director

Lakshmanan
Sathyavagiswaran, M.D.,
Chief Medical Examiner — Coroner

We at the Los Angeles County Department of Coroner extend our deepest sympathy to you during this difficult time. We hope that the information contained in this pamphlet will assist you by providing answers to commonly asked questions.

Q. WHERE WILL MY RELATIVE/FRIEND BE TAKEN?

A. He/She will be taken to the Coroner’s main facility
located at 1104 North Mission Road, Los Angeles,
California 90033, (323) 343-0714.

1) Santa Clarita Valley
Regional Office
14445 Olive Drive
Sylmar, CA 91342
(818) 364-3323

2) Antelope Valley
Regional Office
44900 N. 60th West
Lancaster, CA 93536
(661) 945-8566

3) Century
Regional Office
11703 S. Alameda Street
Lynwood, CA 90262
(323) 868-9524

Q. IS IT NECESSARY FOR ME TO COME TO THE
CORONER’S OFFICE TO IDENTIFY THE BODY?

A. No. In a majority of the cases, visual identification is not
required. Should it become necessary for you to come
in or provide other records or x-rays, you will be
contacted.

Q. IS VIEWING ALLOWED?

A. No. The Coroner’s facility is not designed to
accommodate viewing. Arrangements can be made at
the funeral home for viewing.

Q. HOW LONG WILL IT TAKE BEFORE MY RELATIVE/
FRIEND IS RELEASED FROM YOUR OFFICE?

A. Generally it should not take more than two to three days.
Your Funeral Director will coordinate the release on your
behalf.

Q. WILL I BE CHARGED FOR OTHER CORONER
SERVICES?

A. The County is required to assess certain fees for
transportation and storage. You will be asked to pay this
fee by your funeral service provider.

Q. WHERE CAN I OBTAIN A DEATH CERTIFICATE?

A. Death Certificates are filed with the County Health
Department by the Funeral Director. Should you require
certified copies, they can be ordered through the funeral
home or they may be purchased from the Los Angeles
County Health Department, at 1313 North Figueroa
Street, Los Angeles, California, (213) 240-7816 or the
Registrar/Recorder at 12400

Q. WHY IS THE CORONER INVOLVED?

A. State law requires the Coroner to inquire into and
determine the circumstances, manner, and cause of all
sudden, violent, or unusual deaths and those deaths
where the decedent has not been seen by a physician
20 days prior to death. The deceased will be taken to
the Coroner’s Office and examined by a physician to
discover the cause of death. A death certificate is issued
after the examination is completed. Occasionally, more
extensive testing is required, in which case an interim or
deferred death certificate is issued which will allow the
family to make funeral arrangements. A final death
certificate will be issued following completion of special
testing.

Q. WILL AN AUTOPSY BE PERFORMED?

A. The Coroner will decide if an autopsy is necessary to
establish the cause and circumstances of death. We
may not perform an autopsy if the cause of death can be
determined to be from “natural causes” and the
deceased has been under the care of a physician who
knows the medical history and will furnish the Coroner
with information relative to the probable cause of death.

Q. WHAT ABOUT TISSUE/ORGAN DONATION?

A. You may be contacted by an organ/tissue transplant
coordinator. With your consent, many types of tissues
may be donated and thereby help others. If you are
interested in donation, call the Tissue Donation Hotline
at (800) 528-9500 as soon as possible. A representative
will be available to answer your questions 24 hours a
day.

Q. WILL AUTOPSY REPORTS BE AVAILABLE?

A. Yes. You may obtain a copy by calling the Coroner’s
Document Desk at (323) 343-0512, Monday through
Friday, from 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. At that time, you will
be informed of the cost of this service and how this
document or any Coroner records can be obtained.

Q. MY RELATIVE/FRIEND WAS IN THE MILITARY, WHO CAN I CONTACT FOR INFORMATION?

A. Persons who have served in the Armed Forces, were
honorably discharged, and meet other service
requirements may be entitled to a Veteran’s burial. For
information contact the L.A. County Veteran’s Affairs
Office at (213) 253-2677. For information on Military,
Veterans or Social Security benefits, contact your funeral
director.

Q. WHAT SHOULD I DO NOW?

A. As soon as possible, select a funeral home and inform
the funeral director that the death is being handled by
the Coroner’s office. Ask them to please notify us. Our
office does not select funeral homes nor do we make
arrangements. In the event someone is making the
arrangements for the family, the Coroner must be
provided with notarized written authorization to release
the deceased, signed by the legal next of kin. Should
he/she reside at a distant location, they may send a FAX
directly to our office: The following format should be
used:

CORONER, LOS ANGELES COUNTY, CALIFORNIA,
RELEASE THE REMAINS OF MY (relationship and name
of decedent, case #) TO (name of funeral director
selected).
SIGNED: (name) ___________________________________
RELATIONSHIP:____________________________________
PHONE NUMBER:__________________________________
CORONER FAX NUMBER (323) 223-5786 OR
(323) 222-7041.

If a body is to be shipped to a mortuary outside the
County, the local mortuary, as well as the distant
mortuary must be identified in the FAX.

Q. THERE ARE NO FUNDS FOR BURIAL, WHAT CAN I
DO?

A. If the deceased or the legal next of kin do not have
sufficient funds for burial, the alternative may be County
disposition. In these circumstances, proof of indigence
is required. The next of kin should contact the Coroner’s
Notification Unit at (323) 343-0755 and additional
information will be made available. If County disposition
is authorized, there may be substantial delays in
receiving death certificates and as a consequence,
certain benefits.

Q. HOW AND WHEN CAN PERSONAL POSSESSIONS
BE CLAIMED?

A. Any personal possessions in the custody of the Coroner,
may be claimed by the legal next of kin. Governmental
documents (drivers licenses, passports, military
identification cards) will not be released to the next of
kin. These documents will be returned to the issuing
agency for disposition. To avoid any inconvenience to
you, call the Coroner’s Personal Property Section @
(323) 343-0515, before coming into the office. The
Personal Property Clerk will advise you if any documents
will be needed and of any other requirements. The
Personal Property Section is open from 8:00 a.m. to 4:00
p.m., Monday through Friday and is closed weekends
and holidays. Sometimes personal possessions are
taken into custody by other law enforcement agencies at
their request. You will need to deal with those agencies
to recover personal possessions in their custody.
Clothing is not usually considered property. Unless
there is a need to hold clothing as evidence, it is
released to the mortuary recovering the deceased.
Clothing that presents a health hazard may be disposed
of for the safety of all persons involved.

Q. I NEED TO ENTER MY RELATIVE/FRIENDS
RESIDENCE, BUT IT IS SEALED. WHAT CAN I DO?

A. In order to enter you need to obtain permission from the
agency listed on the seal. If the seal indicates Public
Administrator (yellow seal) involvement call (213) 974-
0460. If the seal is a Coroner’s seal (blue seal), call
(323) 343-0755.

We hope the advice and counseling provided by your Funeral Director and the information provided in this pamphlet will help you during this time of loss. However, should you need additional assistance, please telephone our office at (323) 343-0512 during regular business hours. After regular business hours, weekends and holidays, please call (323) 343-0714.

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