The Coroner is an independent official with responsibility under the law for the medico-legal investigation of certain deaths occurring in San Mateo County.

The Coroner's office must inquire into the circumstances of sudden, unexplained, violent, and unnatural deaths. This may require a post-mortem examination sometimes followed by an inquest.  The Coroner's inquiry is concerned with establishing whether or not death was due to natural or unnatural causes.  If a death is due to unnatural causes, for example in a road traffic accident, accident at work, or by drowning, then an inquiry must be completed by law.

Hours of Operation:

The Coroner's Office Investigative Unit is a 24/7 operation.  A Deputy Coroner may be reached from 6:00 a.m. to 12:00 a.m. (midnight), seven (7) days per week.

The Pathology Division releases decedents from 12:30 p.m. to 3:00 p.m., Monday through Friday.   Please call the Pathology Division if other arrangements are required.


Hospice Deaths - When to Report

Beginning February 1, 2012, hospice deaths relating to natural causes with kin notified do not need to be reported to the Coroner's Office.  The When to Report Form should be filled out for all hospice patients to ensure that proper reporting is done in the matter of deaths relating to trauma, communicable diseases, medication misuse/abuse, and when no kin is known or able to act.  If you have any questions, please contact the on-duty Deputy Coroner at (650) 312-5562.

Autopsy by Family Request

Autopsies are available for deaths which are not within the Coroner’s jurisdiction.  These autopsies are done by written request of the legal next of kin, and the requestor pays customary charges for the autopsy. (California Government Code Section 27520)

As of the fiscal year 2014-2015, the charge for a complete autopsy is $3,675.00.  Depending on the circumstances and testing required, there may be additional charges.  The cost of examination, if applicable, is also paid by the legal next of kin.

For further information, contact the Chief Deputy Coroner at (650) 312-5223.