North Carolina Ruling Could Allow Medical Examiner Lawsuits

May 5, 2014

A North Carolina agency has ruled a family should be paid nearly $400,000 for their anguish after a medical examiner misidentified a body, sending it to the wrong funeral home.

The Charlotte Observer reports the decision could open the door for other families to be compensated when medical examiners make egregious mistakes. In the past, medical examiners have been included under a law that shields government employees from liability.

The state Industrial Commission ruled the Guilford County medical examiner failed to follow proper procedure when he didn’t order an autopsy on three people from out-of-state killed in a wreck on Interstate 85 in 2008.

The medical examiner tried to use passport photos to identify the burned bodies and ended up sending two of them to the wrong funeral homes.

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