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Navigating the Challenges of a Wrongful Death Claim

About 800 traffic fatalities occur per year in Virginia, and in some cases the victims’ loved ones may want to pursue a wrongful death claim.

Death certificate

Here in Virginia, approximately 800 traffic fatalities occur each year. Depending on the circumstances surrounding each of these car accidents, loved ones of victims may decide to pursue a wrongful death claim. In the aftermath of a tragedy, it’s often the case that family members feel overwhelmed by paperwork, dealing with health insurance, auto insurance, and funeral planning. Even the smallest tasks can cause major frustration and upset for those who are in mourning. If a person has died without a will, that can cause even more complications when a family member pursues a personal injury claim, or files a lawsuit.

If you ever find yourself in the sad and difficult position of navigating a wrongful death claim, how do you begin the process of moving forward? The first step to take is obtaining a copy of the death certificate. The funeral home will be able to provide one if you are an immediate family member such as a child or spouse, or you can request a copy from the Virginia Department of Health Vital Records Division. This can be done either in person or by mail.

Next, a person needs to qualify as administrator of the estate. This may also be referred to as
becoming a personal representative. In order to be appointed representative, you must be over 18 years of age, and you have to make an appointment to appear in person before the clerk of court in the county or city where the deceased resided.

Navigating a personal injury claim on behalf of a person who has died can be a complicated and emotional process. The attorneys and staff at Burnett & Williams are here to guide you, if you ever find yourself in this sad situation.