William The Coroner’s Forensic Files

Wednesday, 25, August, 2010

Graduate School #2

Filed under: Forensics,Teaching — williamthecoroner @ 16:16

Cause, Manner and Mechanism of Death

I Introduction
A. Definitions
1. Cause—That injury or illness that was incompatible with life
2. Mechanism—How the cause was incompatible with life.
3. Manner—How the cause came about
4. What, How, and Why

B. Why is this important?
1. Double indemnity
2. Insurance policies
3. Criminal penalties

II. Cause of Death

A. That injury or illness that was incompatible with life
B. Examples
1. Gunshot wound of head
2. Hypertensive and atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease
3. Group A β-hemolytic Streptococcus sepsis
4. Blunt impacts to head with skull and brain injuries.

III. Mechanism of Death

IV. Manner of Death
A. How the cause came about
B. Five manners of death
C. Violent vs. Natural
1. Violence trumps the natural
D. Accident, Suicide, Homicide
E. Undetermined
F. No value judgment
G. No Dumbicide, unfortunately, we could use this one.

V. Causation and temporal delay

A. Proximate cause
B. “But-for” causation
C. Time delay



  1. Dumb question, why the format of “D. Accident, Suicide, Accident” ?? Is there such a thing as accidental suicide? e.g. wanting attention, cuts wrists and bleeds out?

    Comment by Old NFO — Wednesday, 25, August, 2010 @ 20:45 | Reply

    • Thanks, that should have been homicide. The formatting doesn’t really translate well to blog format.

      Comment by williamthecoroner — Wednesday, 25, August, 2010 @ 21:07

  2. Doh… should have looked at the progression… My bad

    Comment by Old NFO — Friday, 27, August, 2010 @ 19:20 | Reply

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