When a death is due to unknown, violent, or unnatural causes in England and Wales, a coroner's inquest may be held. Dental team members may be asked to provide evidence.
After a jury hearing, the coroner will provide a 'determination' or short-form conclusion on the cause of death. The following are those most common conclusions:
- natural causes (including fatal medical conditions)
- accident or misadventure
- industrial disease
- dependence on drugs/non-dependent abuse of drugs
- attempted/self-induced abortion
- disasters subject to public inquiry
- lawful killing (such as deaths caused during acts of war, or self-defence)
- unlawful killing
- open verdict (where there is insufficient evidence for any other verdict).
The commencement of the provisions in the Coroners and Justice Act 2009 have added some further possible conclusions to this list:
- alcohol/drug related death, and
- road traffic collision.
The coroner will usually summarise the circumstances leading to the death and, if relevant, will raise concerns about future public safety.
This page was correct at publication on 20/04/2022. Any guidance is intended as general guidance for members only. If you are a member and need specific advice relating to your own circumstances, please contact one of our advisers.