June 12, 2019
Car Accident Death: Surviving the Loss of a Loved One
Losing a loved one suddenly and without warning in a car accident can be anyone’s worst nightmare. It is usually the most difficult time for the whole family. Unlike dying from an illness, the sudden, unexpected death of a parent, spouse, sibling, or child can be challenging to deal with because there is no time to prepare emotionally, and you are left full of regret for words unsaid, and stripped of the opportunity to say goodbye.
Grieving can take many forms and follows no timetable. While some may start to feel better the following months, others may still feel the pain many years later. You cannot rush through the process of dealing with the pain caused by death, and you are certainly not alone.
Stages of Grief
Grieving is a universal phenomenon. Swiss psychiatrist Elisabeth Kübler-Ross proposed five stages of grief in her 1969 book On Death and Dying. It’s worth remembering that these stages do not follow a specific order, and we all deal with our emotions differently.
During bereavement, we move from stage to stage until we achieve a peaceful acceptance of their death. The key is to understand and consider them as guides in the grieving process.
1.Denial – It is normal to deny the reality of the death of a loved one, especially when it is unexpected. Denial is a defence mechanism that helps us survive the loss, by buffering shock and numbing our emotions. We deny the reality of the situation because we don’t want to accept that life has changed in an instant; instead, we live in a “preferred reality,” where we cling to false hope.
Denying the sudden death of a loved one helps us pace our feelings of grief. Once we start to accept the reality, the healing process begins.
2.Anger – Sooner or later, the masking effects of denial start to fade, and reality and pain re-emerge. The family and friends of the car accident victim frequently aim their ire at the one they hold responsible for the death of their loved one.
Mental health experts agree that anger is a fundamental part of the grieving process. However, it will ultimately dissipate with time. Interestingly, experts hold that the more intense your rage, the quicker it dissipates, allowing you to heal quickly. Grief disconnects us from reality, but anger can anchor us to reality.
3.Bargaining – When we feel helpless, it is reasonable to try to regain a sense of control through “if only” statements, like “if only they didn’t go out with friends that night,” “if only I did not allow them to drive,” and “if only I had been a better person toward them.”
In this stage, we may find ourselves making a bargain to have our loved one back into our lives again. Bargaining is a weaker line of defence mechanism to shield us from the painful reality. It also expresses our repressed feelings of guilt, believing that there was something we could have done to prevent our loved one’s death.
4.Depression – Depression is immediately associated with losing someone you love. This form of grief is characterized by the feeling of emptiness when we realized that a cherished person or situation is permanently gone or over. People experiencing depression may withdraw from their daily life, feel numb, and be too overwhelmed to face reality. In this stage, you may feel hopeless and wanting yourself to be alone at times.
Depression associated with mourning comes in two types. The first type of depression relates to the practical implications of the loss, where a person usually feels sadness and regret. The second type is more sophisticated yet private, where we quietly prepare ourselves from the separation and bid our loved one goodbye.
5.Acceptance – Acceptance is not a mark of bravery. This phase is simply a time of adjustment and readjustment, of realizing that you need to continue living your life, even with the loss of a loved one. You begin to reconnect with your friends, develop new relationships, and start looking to the future again.
Although this is the last stage of grief, according to Kübler-Ross, not all grieving people reach a stage of acceptance. Unfortunately, some people may never experience acceptance, becoming ‘stuck’ in one of the previous steps, like denial or anger.
Losing someone we love so suddenly and unexpectedly is the last thing we want to happen. While the five grieving stages are deeply personal, know that others can help you get through and comfort you while you grieve.
Allow yourself to cry and mourn your loss. Suppressing your emotions will only prolong the natural process of healing.
Filing Wrongful Death Claim
A wrongful death claim can make a huge difference in protecting your family from future financial hardships caused by your loss. While such things seem trivial in your grief and upheaval, it is essential to know if negligence was involved in the accident. If the death of your loved one was caused by another person’s negligence, contact a qualified personal injury lawyer as soon as possible to receive proper compensation for your unexpected loss.
Here is what you need to do to prove your claim in the case of a motor vehicle accident:
- Find out who is at fault – Understand that every motor-vehicle accident lawsuit is unique and hiring an experienced lawyer is essential to assess the circumstances of the accident. In some cases, the crash may involve more than one party.
- Establish your relationship – Bring a copy of the deceased’s will, if possible, your birth certificate or other documentation to prove your relationship to the deceased, and insurance policy, if you are a beneficiary.
- Loss of income – In addition to grief, losing a family member can be a financial burden. The earnings of the deceased loved one will be calculated, entitling you to compensation and damages, including:
- Medical and funeral costs
- Loss of wages or inheritance
- Pain and suffering
If you have lost a loved one in a car accident, make sure to seek justice on his/her behalf. Call Michelle Linka Law at (416) 477-7288 to speak with a professional car accident lawyer in Richmond Hill. We will help you receive the full amount of compensation you deserve after the death of a loved one.