Navigating the Aftermath of a Loved One’s Wrongful Death

Losing a family member is devastating for the entire family. That pain is made worse when the loss is due to the negligent acts of another. Under the law, this is known as “wrongful death” and its impact on families is catastrophic.

If you’ve lost a loved one, you may feel overwhelmed by stress and pain. As wrongful death lawyers, we see these cases frequently and can understand your sorrow. Here, we have compiled a list of steps you can take to help you achieve some small solace while you navigate this difficult time.

Practical Steps to Take After the Loss of a Loved One

While the loss of a relative is an emotional time, there are also practical matters that have to be dealt with. Take care of these tasks as soon as possible:

  • Notify family and obtain a death certificate
  • Find important documents
  • Gather evidence
  • Consult with an attorney

Don’t feel like you have to do all of the above by yourself; enlist help from other family members and distribute the responsibility into more manageable sub-tasks.

Notify Family and Obtain a Death Certificate

In difficult times, it’s crucial to stay connected with your family. Beyond just notifying your family about the loss, consider appointing one family member who communicates details of the funeral and other matters to the rest of the family to ensure that everyone has the same information. You can also communicate final wishes as well as directions on where to send gifts and donations.

You’ll also need to obtain a death certificate. The death certificate will contain important information that identifies your family member and lists the cause of death. After verifying the information with a relative, the death certificate will be filed at the state health department’s vital records office. It can take up to 30 days to receive a copy of the death certificate, once you request it.

Find Important Documents:

The most important document for you to find is the will, if one exists. The will contains vital information about your loved one’s last wishes regarding the distribution of their property and administration of their estate. If your relative died without a will, the distribution of the estate will occur through probate court.

Gather Evidence:

If you suspect that the loss of your loved one occurred because of the negligence of another, it’s vital to gather evidence to help you prove your case. Medical records and reports will be especially important, but you can also gather witness statements and other documentation relating to their passing. It’s also helpful to establish a timeline of events leading up to the death. In the case of an accident, the police report can be relied on to help establish negligence, as can photos and video of the scene. When gathering evidence, err on the side of inclusion so that third parties, like your attorney and insurance company, can get a full picture of the events leading to your loved one’s passing.

Consult with an Attorney: 

When you lose a loved one because of someone else’s actions, you and your family have rights. To enforce those rights, consider consulting a knowledgeable wrongful death attorney. The lawyer you choose should have ample experience with wrongful death cases and a proven track record of success. Your attorney will be able to give you a full case evaluation and assess whether your family may be eligible to receive compensation.

Steps For Future Wellness After The Loss Of A Loved One

Healing from the loss of a loved one takes time. While you grieve your loss, these steps can help you regain a sense of normalcy after the unthinkable happens:

  • Engage in self-care
  • Get closure
  • Establish a remembrance event or ritual

Keep your friends and family close during this time and prioritize your wellbeing.

Engage in Self-Care

At a time when life is at its worst, it’s important to engage in self-care and develop coping strategies for the stress and pain you feel. Your mental health and the wellbeing of your family is your top priority during this trying time. Consider the following mental health steps:

  • Give yourself plenty of time to process
  • Rely on your support system
  • Get plenty of sleep and rest
  • Take things one day at a time

If your feelings are overwhelming, consider reaching out to a trained mental health professional.

Get Closure

An important part of healing from the loss of a loved one is getting closure. For some, this closure is obtained when the negligent parties responsible for the death are held accountable for their actions. A lawyer can help your family get closure and will be there for you throughout every step of the claim process.

Establish a Remembrance Event or Ritual

Remembering your loved one will be important for years to come. Focusing on the good parts of their lives and their unique impact on your life will help ease your grief. You can establish an event or ritual, such as a family gathering or candle lighting, for the future to help honor your loved one.

Filing a Wrongful Death Case

If your family has wrongfully lost a loved one due to someone else’s negligence, filing a wrongful death claim can help your family heal emotionally and financially. But what is a wrongful death claim and what can it do for your family?

Wrongful death is a type of personal injury claim that is filed when someone dies as a result of the negligent acts of another. In Texas, the families of wrongful death victims are entitled to recover both economic and non-economic damages in the forms of:

  • Mental anguish and emotional distress
  • Pre-death pain and suffering
  • Loss of past and future income
  • Loss of consortium
  • Loss of inheritance
  • Punitive damages in cases of gross negligence

Having a compassionate and effective wrongful death attorney is critical. The attorney can gather evidence, file your claim and even represent you in court if necessary. Bear in mind that, under Texas law, your family will only have two years from the date of the cause of action to file a wrongful death lawsuit.

Colby Lewis Will Fight For Your Family In A Wrongful Death

At the Law Offices of Colby Lewis, we understand that the loss of a loved one has a devastating impact on your family. That’s why we fight hard to get justice for families in the form of both compensation and holding the responsible party accountable. For a full case evaluation, contact the experienced wrongful death lawyers at the Law Offices of Colby Lewis today.