Georgia Death Investigation Act

The Georgia Death Investigation Act (O.C.G.A. 45-16-20) requires that the coroner or the county medical examiner where the body was found or the death occurred be notified and that a medical examiner’s inquiry be made. In Georgia deaths that meet the following criteria are reportable to the coroner/medical examiner:

  • Death as a result of violence
  • By suicide or casualty
  • Suddenly, when in apparent good health When unattended by a physician
  • In any suspicious or unusual manner, with particular attention to those persons 16 years of age and under
  • After birth, but before 7  years of age if the death is unexpected and/or unexplained
  • As a result of execution carried out pursuant to imposition of the death penalty under Article 2 of Chapter 10 of Title 17 of the O.C.G.A.
  • An inmate of a State Hospital or a State or County penal institute
  • After having been admitted to a hospital in an unconscious state and without regaining consciousness within 24 hours of admission

The reporting and subsequent inquiries that are conducted into each of these reported deaths are done seven day a week, 24 hours a day, weekends and all holidays. The Medical Examiner will determine the need for an autopsy or other examination based on the information generated through initial investigation. An autopsy is not performed or needed on every death.