Under the Coroners Act 2003 coroners are responsible for investigating reportable deaths that occur in Queensland.
A reportable death is a death where:
- the identity of the person is unknown
- the death was violent or unnatural, such as accidents, falls, suicides or drug overdoses
- the death happened in suspicious circumstances
- a ‘cause of death’ certificate has not been issued and is not likely to be issued
- the death was a health care related death
- the death occurred in care
- the death occurred in custody
- the death occurred as a result of police operations.
Reportable deaths are usually reported to the coroner by police. When a death is reported the coroner investigates the death to find out the identity of the deceased person, when and where they died, how they died and the medical cause of death. If a coroner decides to hold an inquest the coroner can make recommendations aimed at preventing similar deaths in the future. Coronial investigations do not focus on laying blame or assigning liability for the death.
Coroners will take into account family and cultural concerns when making decisions about the deceased, such as the extent of the autopsy.
If you need information about the status of a coronial investigation, please contact the coroner’s office. If you are unsure which coroner is handling an investigation, contact the Coroners Court of Queensland for further assistance.