Rigor Mortis Law and Legal Definition

Rigor Mortis refers to the stiffening of the limbs of a corpse. This is caused by the chemical change in the muscles after death. Because of the skeletal muscles partially contracting, the muscles are unable to relax and therefore the joints become fixed. The onset of rigor mortis can vary from 15 minutes to several hours after death, depending on the temperature, body's condition and other factors.