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Are Autopsy Reports Public Records in Texas?

Some reports with personal information are actually public records that can be requested by almost anyone. But are autopsy reports part of public records in TX?
Autopsy Reports
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Some people would argue that an autopsy report should only be seen by close family members and the authorities because it contains extremely sensitive information that can be very personal. On the other side of the argument, there are people who think that since the person is deceased autopsy reports should be public records. 

The thing is, it isn’t a matter of public opinion. There are Texas state laws that dictate who can and can’t see autopsy reports. Keep reading to find out how accessible autopsy reports are in Texas. 

What the Texas Public Information Act Says About Autopsy Reports

Autopsy reports fall under the jurisdiction of the Texas Public Information Act. According to the act, autopsy reports are considered public records in most cases. As such, anyone can request a copy of a Texas autopsy report. 

Exceptions to the Texas Autopsy Report Laws

The majority of the time Texas autopsy reports can be made public, but there are exceptions. This makes sense given that sometimes autopsies are performed by medical examiners as a part of a criminal investigation. An autopsy report also won’t be publicly disclosed if the information is expressly confidential under other laws.

Details about the exceptions to public disclosure provided are in the Texas Government Code in Sections 552.110 and 552.1101

How to Request an Autopsy Report in Texas

Even though autopsy reports are public records that doesn’t mean they are printed out or posted online for all to see. To view an autopsy report you must submit a request. There are two ways to request an autopsy report in Texas. You can request a copy by mail, email or online. 

Submitting a Written Request for an Autopsy Report 

To obtain a copy of an autopsy report you must include the deceased’s name and date of death. to: Written requests should be sent to:

Travis County Medical Examiner’s Office
P.O. Box 1748
Austin, TX 78767

Submitting an Email Request for an Autopsy Report 

Online requests for autopsy reports can be made via email. Requests should be sent to: [email protected].

Submitting an Online Request for an Autopsy Report

A request can be made in some jurisdictions by submitting a form online. For example, in Travis County you can make an open records request on the government website. 

It can take up to 90 days for an autopsy to be completed. Once it’s completed, it should take 8-12 weeks to process the request and deliver a copy of an autopsy report. Keep in mind that the autopsy report is different from the death certificate. Death certificates can also be requested 

The team at Green Cremation Texas can help you make cremation arrangements while you wait for an autopsy to be performed. We’ll work with the medical examiner’s office to coordinate timelines and transport to the crematorium. You can give us a call, text or email 24 hours a day.

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Marlaena Gonzales

Funeral Director
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