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Your recovery from a wrongful death will take time, and great effort. Here is a list of "first steps" you can take now. Just one may help you immensely and they are not difficult.

In the October 2009 issue of Redbook magazine, an interesting article was written about women facing tragedy. I thought it particularly accurate when Brenda Eppley, 44, of Healdsburg, Pennsylvania, discussed how she coped with the loss of her daughter in an automobile accident, in California this is called Wrongful Death.

According to the article, last spring, her only child Megan was killed in a car accident at only 18 years old. As is typical in these kinds of situations, Brenda could not even stir up enough energy to go through Megan’s things, her marriage deteriorated and the heart ache of the loss was at times overwhelming.

Here are some practical things that all wrongful death survivors have to address in these kinds of cases, some of them discussed by Brenda, some of them by my own observation.

  • You do need to live each day to its fullest, as Brenda had told Megan while she was growing up.
  • It is important to address your anger, whether it arises and is directed at an adverse party that caused the wrongful death, or the unfairness of the circumstance. Anger eventually poisons your soul and contributes to further decay of your social and personal relationships.
  • Maintaining your health is very important. Typically, stress and the other components of a wrongful death have us refusing to eat, sleep and interact in a healthy way.
  • Planning your life without a loved one should become an object of focus. Sometimes that area is “murky” as described by Brenda. Other clients have described it as impossible and difficult. However, all will agree that facing the reality and setting out goals and a plan helps you set out in the right direction.
  • A support system is very important: friends, family members, parents, children and spouses. Many people find themselves recovering from a wrongful death and don’t interact and are turned off by help from others because the help is always so clumsy. The truth is that most people want to help but they don’t know how. They are uncomfortable so they fall back on the old adage that nothing said might be better than something said wrong. If you are recovering from such a situation, show the elephant in the room by calling your friends, rather than waiting for them to call you. Tell others what you need if they ask and don’t be afraid to tell them what you don’t need from them.
  • After a personal loss, I found spirituality and I encourage all persons suffering from a wrongful death to do the same. Spirituality need not be religiosity. People find spirituality in many ways and it is actually a discovery process that can enlighten you on some of the darkest frustrations you have.
  • Also, don’t shun profession help. Profession help need not be a self analysis carried on for months or years, but an expert that can provide you with tools that will help you to cope with, and arrive at solutions to the complex problems and feelings that you are experiencing.
  • Lastly, maintain a sense of balance between work, home life, social life, and spirituality. A balance in your life will restore some normalcy, and allow you to cope more deeply with those issues that are causing great despair.

We want you to soar above not just survive a wrongful death claim. If we can help, please feel free to call us at 1-866-981-5596.

by James E. Ballidis

James Ballidis is the managing attorney for Allen, Flatt, Ballidis & Leslie and has been practicing personal injury law for 25 years.

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