Information For Family and Friends

The medical examiner’s staff understand the uncertainties that accompany a sudden death.  We offer the following information to help explain why the medical examiner has become involved in the death of your loved one.

Virginia law requires a medical examiner to determine the cause and manner of death of persons who die under specific circumstances.  Deaths that come under the jurisdiction of the medical examiner are called medical examiner cases. Law enforcement officials, physicians, hospitals, funeral directors, and others are required to report to the medical examiner any death that they think might become a medical examiner’s case.

Typically, medical examiner cases include those that (1) occur when the decedent was not under the care of a physician; (2) are sudden and unexpected; (3) are due to violence of any kind; and (4) occur where violence might be suspected or violence cannot reasonably be ruled out.

We invite you to review the list of Frequently Asked Questions, which may provide answers to other questions you may have at this time.  If, after reviewing the list, you have further questions you are welcome to contact the medical examiner’s office that is investigating your loved one’s case.

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