Washington Association of
Coroners and Medical Examiners
Medicolegal Death Investigations
"Every Scene, Every Time"

Coroner or Medical Examiner?

  • Coroners and medical examiners have the same legal authority, duties and responsibilities. 

  • Coroners are elected. They are trained as medico-legal death investigators and are the administrators for their office.  Autopsies and medical expertise are provided by board certified forensic pathologists.

  • Medical examiners are appointed. They are trained in forensic pathology. They employ medico-legal death investigators to respond to death scenes, and employ administrative staff to run their office. 

  • Coroner budget/salary vs. medical examiner budget/salary  
    • Coroner budget range $6,000-$1 million
    • M.E. budget range $500,000-$4.4 million
      • Coroner salary range $36,000-$105,000
      • M.E. salary range $196,000-$230,000

  • Coroners and medical examiners utilize the same protocols for death scene investigations. 


  • Coroners and medical examiners use medico-legal death scene investigations,  forensic autopsies, toxicological testing and decedent history to determine the cause and manner of death.


  • Coroners and medical examiners utilize the same investigative, scientific, and administrative protocols, resulting in the same consistent, professional and high quality death investigations.  


Every scene, every time.