Understanding The 7 Stages Of Grief After A Wrongful Death Accident

When someone you love dies as a result of an accident, it’s difficult to describe the flurry of emotions that you’ll go through. When the accident is caused by someone else’s reckless actions or negligence, the emotions are heightened ten-fold. The deepest levels of your pain can rival the deepest levels of your anger toward the situation and everyone involved in it.

7 Stages Of Grief After A Wrongful Death


Recovering from a loss due to wrongful death can be a long process that varies from person to person. It’s a heartbreaking loss that can be difficult to overcome, and most people are never the same after such an event. It can be comforting to know that there are seven common stages that everyone goes through as they work towards healing.

  • Shock and Denial. This is the first stage of grief experienced by most people after a wrongful death has occurred. The shock of the event can make life seem surreal; almost like you’re living in an alternate reality. This protects the brain from becoming too overwhelmed with emotions. It can last for weeks.

  • Guilt and Pain. Even if you weren’t involved in the accident, you might feel a sense of guilt. You may think back on things you wish you could have done differently with your loved one. This is also a time of overwhelming pain that can be all-consuming. Life can feel chaotic in this phase.

  • Anger and Bargaining. Bottled up emotions get released in this phase. Anger can make people lash out at everyone around them, even those who are well-meaning. Anger towards the person who caused the wrongful death gets intensified. If one has a higher power, this is the time when they try to bargain or plead to have their loved ones brought back.

  • Loneliness. A long period of sad reflection starts here. Just when people think that you should “start moving on,” you can feel emptier than ever. The sheer magnitude of your loss can take over and cause depression and despair.
    The Up-Turn. As you adjust to life without your loved one, you’ll notice that life becomes calmer. The grief will lessen, and you’ll slowly feel lighter.

  • Reconstruction. This is a challenging time when you begin to rebuild your life after the loss of your loved one. It can be especially difficult if your spouse or child was taken from you in a wrongful death scenario. While it might seem impossible to move on, you’ll see things more clearly and learn how to work on the problems that surround you.

  • Acceptance and Hope. The last stage of grief might seem far away, but you’ll get there eventually. Your heart and head will finally accept that your loved one is gone, and there’s nothing that can bring them back. You might not find instant happiness, but you’re on the journey to the future. You’ll appreciate what you had and continue to love and miss the person, but you’ll find joy and peace in the present once again.


Legalities Of Filing A Wrongful Death Lawsuit


Filing a wrongful death lawsuit won’t bring your loved one back, but it can bring justice to the person who caused the accident, and it can bring you a sense of closure and peace. Under Florida law, when a person’s death is caused by the wrongful act, negligence, or reckless behavior of another person, the deceased party’s estate can bring about a civil lawsuit to seek losses.

The claim must be filed by a personal representative of the estate, typically named in the estate plan or will. If no such representative is listed, the court may appoint one. It is the responsibility of the personal representative to list every survivor who has an interest in the case.

Know Your Limitations


The state of Florida has a statute of limitations that sets a time limit on when a wrongful death suit can be filed. A wrongful death claim must be filed within two years of the date of death. Some cases can postpone the deadline under specific circumstances, so speak to a lawyer who is familiar with the circumstances and laws of wrongful death claims.

Sometimes, the rules pertaining to wrongful death lawsuits can be complicated. Aside from the complexity of the statutes and cases that currently exist, Florida’s wrongful death statute and other potentially relevant statutes are amended regularly.

There is no easy way to recover the love and companionship of your loved one, but with a wrongful death suit in the works, you be able to work through the seven stages of grief a little bit easier.

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