When someone you love is unexpectedly taken from you, the pain can be unbearable. When the loss is the result of someone else’s negligence or intentional misdeeds, it can add a layer of directed anger on top of what you are already experiencing in your grief. There is no harder time in which to have to make vital decisions. Unfortunately, after losing a loved one in an accident, there are things you need to do to protect yourself and your family going forward.
1. Act Quickly
There is no one right way to grieve. There is no time limit on when you should be “over” your loss. No one can tell you that you are wrong to feel the pain you are feeling. Unfortunately, the law can tell you how long you have to make the decision about whether to file a lawsuit against the person or people responsible for your loss. There is a statute of limitations on filing wrongful death claims. If you wait too long, you will lose the right to pursue financial compensation.
2. Ask Questions
In some cases, it is obvious that an accident was caused by negligence. If a drunk driver hits a car and kills someone, that driver was clearly behaving negligently. Other cases are not so clear. Doctors and hospital administrators are unlikely to be honest with you if medical negligence caused the death of your loved one. They don’t normally volunteer the information that their mistakes had fatal consequences. Many accidents involve negligence or wrongful acts that must be uncovered through investigation. A wrongful death attorney can help you by knowing where to look to find the information you need to make a good decision.
3. Get The Help You Need
The loss of a loved one is not something that you should expect to handle alone. The pain of losing a loved one is paralyzing. It is vital to draw on the help of friends, family, support groups, counselors and anyone else who can help. In terms of the law, it is important to choose a wrongful death attorney you trust to handle your case with care and attention.
4. Put Yourself And Your Family First
Your physical and emotional health and that of your family must be protected. Grief can quickly lead to illness and even clinical depression. Grief makes everything a struggle, even the most basic functions of day-to-day life. If possible, try to prioritize the necessities. No one who loves you will judge you for putting yourself and your family first after a tragedy.
One of the benefits of hiring a lawyer to handle your wrongful death claim is that there is one less issue for you to deal with during your grief. The investigation, negotiation and coordination necessary to protect your rights can be confusing and exhausting for someone without the necessary experience. Trying to manage that while going through the grieving process is often too much to ask.
Source: HelpGuide.org, “Coping with Grief and Loss,” August 2016