records that are required by law to be made, maintained or kept
by the County or State Medical Examiner are the Report of Investigation
by Medical Examiner, the inventory of property of value, the autopsy
report, including its findings and conclusions, and the results
of external examinations upon the bodies of deceased persons. Not
included within this definition are any records or portions thereof
which contain opinions, subjective evaluations or critical analyses.
b. The medical examiner shall, upon request, make available
for inspection during regular business hours the records required
to be made, maintained or kept as defined by (a) above and shall
produce copies of the requested records upon payment of such reasonable
fee as may be provided by this chapter, except as otherwise provided
1. The Right
to Know Law, N.J.S.A. 47:1A-1 et seq.;
2. Laws covering confidentiality of records such as the AIDS Assistance
Law, N.J.S.A. 5C-1 et seq.;
3. Any other law requiring confidentiality of records;
4. The status of an ongoing investigation as defined by Executive
Order No. 123 (1985); or
5. Whenever medical examiner's records are not yet complete.
other records that satisfy the common law definition of a "public
record" which may exist in the medical examiner's file may be inspected
or copied with the exceptions as noted above in (b) provided the
requestor is able to demonstrate that his or her particular interest
outweighs the need of the agency and/or the public interest in confidentiality.
The propriety of the party's interest in these records shall be
determined by the authorized county medical examiner in consultation
with the State Medical Examiner whose final determination shall
be binding. The next-of-kin of the decedent, immediate family members,
physicians who treated the decedent for his or her last illness
or injury, the decedent's legal representative, law enforcement
agencies, or attorneys or insurance companies representing parties
in litigation arising form the incident that caused the decedent's
death are presumed to have a proper interest in these records.
d. In the event that the requestor is unable to demonstrate
a proper interest, the County or State Medical Examiner may advise
the requestor to seek a court ordered release of records.
e. Notwithstanding (b) and (c) above, if the death has been
referred to the county prosecutor or Attorney General may disclose
the autopsy findings. When a party seeks the autopsy report in connection
with pending or future criminal litigation, the county prosecutor
of Attorney General shall provide the report through the discovery
process, in accordance with court rules, of before discovery is
undertaken if the prosecutor or Attorney General deems it appropriate.
(c) and (d) above, the autopsy report may be furnished to any person
upon written authority of the decedent's next-of-kin or legal representative,
unless the death has been referred to the county prosecutor or Attorney
General for continuing criminal investigation.
Who is considered
In the following
1. the spouse,
2. an adult son or daughter,
3. either parent,
4. an adult brother or sister,
5. a guardian of the person of the decedent at the time of the
decedent's death, or
6. any other person authorized or under the obligation to dispose
of the body - e.g. executor of estate.
How can I
obtain a copy of the report?
a written request to the Middlesex County Medical Examiner's Office,
1490 Livingston Avenue, North Brunswick, NJ 08902.
Your request must include:
- Your name,
and complete address
- The name
of the deceased and date of death
- Your relationship
to the deceased
- The original
signature of the requesting party
Can I request
copies of records via fax or e-mail?
we cannot honor fax or e-mail requests for medical records at this
does it cost for a copy of the records?
is a charge of $10.00 minimum for pages 1 through 5 (each additional
page shall be $2.00 per page), payable to "Middlesex County Treasurer".
Reports typically range from seven to ten pages.
send money now?
Do not include
payment with your initial request. When your request is received,
the status of the report is checked. If the report is complete,
you will receive an invoice stating the amount due. If the report
is not complete, your request will be held on file and you
will be notified once it is completed.
I call if I have questions about an autopsy report I have received?
Contact the Chief
Medical Examiner's Office at (732) 745-3190 and ask for the pathologist
who performed the autopsy.
I get a copy of a Death Certificate?
Medical Examiner's Office cannot provide copies of death certificates
by law. Copies of death certificates must be obtained from the Registrar
of Vital Statistics of the town in which the death occurred.
How do I
make arrangements for a body to be released from the Medical Examiner's
The family claiming
the body should contact a funeral home of their choice. The funeral
home will contact this office and make arrangements for the body
to be picked up. Usually the body is available for release within
a day of the death, however, the body may remain at Middlesex County
Medical Examiner's Office while the family is completing their arrangements.
There is no pressure on the family to have a body removed.
What if the
funeral is being held out of state?
who wish to have the funeral and burial in another state should
contact their funeral director of choice in that state. Most funeral
directors have professional connections with funeral directors here
in New Jersey. Any out of state funeral director who has questions
on how to proceed may call Middlesex County Medical Examiner's Office
at (732) 745-3190 for assistance.