How to Cope with Wrongful Death

Tim Miley
Injury Lawyer, Author, & Owner of The Miley Legal Group

The news of a loved one's sudden death can elicit a variety of emotions. Learning that it was the result of someone's careless or reckless actions can increase the intensity of those feelings. There isn't a formula you can follow to get through this difficult time. But there are ways of coping that can help. Read on for tips on how to cope with a death, particularly one caused by another person's negligent actions.

Understand the Stages of Grief to Cope with Death

People grieve differently. But there are some common stages that people go through. Of course, some may linger longer in one stage or skip one altogether.

Understanding these stages can help guide people:

  • Denial: It's difficult to accept the truth, especially when the death was unexpected.
  • Anger: Anger is generally at the person who caused the death. It might have been a drunk driver or a surgeon who made a tragic mistake. Sometimes anger is even directed at the loved one, as some surviving family members may be angry he drove so late at night or angry she didn't choose a less invasive procedure.
  • Bargaining: This is oftentimes filled with a lot of "if only" thoughts. For instance, "if only I had picked him up instead of letting him drive." Or, "if only we had sought a second opinion."
  • Depression: This is a reaction to the loss, the sadness that the loved one will no longer be a part of one's life.
  • Acceptance. It might be more difficult to reach this stage when the death was unexpected.

Focus on Your Basic Needs When Dealing with Death

Many people stop taking care of themselves, which can be a dangerous way to deal with death. But this can cause you to sink into a deeper depression. Even doing small things, such as taking a shower, can make a difference. Some may feel a greater feeling of control over life when able to stick to a normal routine or schedule as much as possible.

Exercise, eating right and drinking water may help not only physically but psychologically as well. Also, turning to alcohol or other substances to numb the pain only prolongs the grieving process, it doesn’t replace it.

Don't Rush the Grieving Process

Just as there is no right way to process grief, there is no right timeframe. It's important to take things day by day, even hour by hour if necessary. Don't allow false expectations (your own or others') to determine the journey. It's yours to take at the pace that's right for you.

Get It Out

Try not to hold everything in. Vent, get angry, whatever is necessary to get it out. (If you have kids, it might be best to get angry and yell, etc. away from them.) Stuffing your feelings inside won't help. Simply talking about your feelings might be beneficial.

Consider joining a grief support group. Talking to others who have experienced sudden, tragic loss can help you realize you're not alone. You may also go see a grief counselor, who can help you navigate the stages of grief.

Taking the Next Step: Legal Action for Your Loved One's Wrongful Death 

One way to see justice served is to consider legal options available if your loved one's death was the result of another's negligence. It's important to seek help from an attorney who handles cases in line with the cause of death. For example, seek a medical malpractice attorney if your loved one's death was the result of a surgical error or an attorney familiar with motorcycle accidents if your loved one was fatally injured in this type of crash.

By filing a claim against the negligent party, it could relieve you of some of the financial debt like the medical bills incurred or the wages your family is now without. But there could be other damages recoverable as well, which an attorney can explain.

Contact the Miley Legal Group in Clarksburg for legal assistance if you're dealing with the death of a loved one that another caused. Call us at 304-931-4088 to set up a consultation.