What is a coroner?
Answer - A coroner is an appointed or elected public official whose official duty is to make inquiries into deaths in certain categories. The office of the coroner, or "crowner," dates back to medieval days, when the crowner was responsible for looking into deaths to be sure death duties were paid to the king. The coroner's primary duty nowadays is to make inquiry into the death and complete the certificate of death.
The coroner assigns a cause and manner of death and lists them on the certificate of death. The cause of death refers to the disease, injury or poison that caused the death. The coroner also decides if a death occurred under natural circumstances or was due to accident, homicide, suicide, or undetermined means or circumstances.
Coroners are called upon to decide if a death was due to foul play. Depending upon the jurisdiction, the coroner may or may not be trained in the medical sciences. In some jurisdictions, the coroner is a physician, but in many places the coroner is not required to be a physician or even be trained in medicine.