Steps to Take After Experiencing a Wrongful Death

Man and lawyer shaking hands in office

Losing a loved one is never easy, more so if the cause of death is someone else act of negligence or misconduct. While the process of grieving can be overwhelming, some may find it hard to know where to turn and what to do next. Fortunately, in this post, we will discuss the steps to take after experiencing a wrongful death so that you don’t make any missteps along the way.

1. Get A Copy of The Death Certificate

First and foremost, you need to get a copy of the death certificate. Oftentimes, this certificate comes in handy to determine the cause of death, location of burial/remains/show cause of death marker, names of next of kin, and other useful information. But more importantly, you will need it in filing legal claims against the responsible parties.

2. Contact an Attorney

Secondly, you will need to contact a wrongful death attorney to help you file the lawsuit. Visit a reputable law office in your local area and present your case to them. Because these types of lawsuits are complicated, the attorneys will help give you the best advice, and course of action. They also possess relevant skills and qualifications, which can help your claim stand up in court. An attorney will help guide you in your difficult time and take care of most of the heavy lifting for you.

3. Gather Evidence

With the help of your attorney, you need to collect all the relevant evidence to prove that the person’s death is wrongful. This includes eyewitness testimony, police reports, autopsy report, and more. When possible, you should also get help from a private investigator to gather credible evidence that can support your case. It is also a good idea to make notes of all phone conversations and meetings with the responsible party and their representatives.

4. Negotiation and Settling

Once you have all the evidence ready, it’s good to communicate with the defendant to see whether they are willing to settle the matter outside of court. If the defendant agrees to compensate you, well and good. But you must crosscheck with your attorney if the offer is worth it. Otherwise, if no agreement is reached, you must now prepare to file the lawsuit.

5. File A Lawsuit

If your case is strong enough, your attorney will advise you to file a lawsuit. The attorney will draft a complaint and file it with the court. Once that is done, the court will issue a summons on behalf of the plaintiff and defendants. This will then be followed by pre-trials. If no settlement is reached, the litigation will continue to the trials.

6. The Grieving Process

It is very common for people to try to ignore the grief that they experience when someone they love dies. Instead of dealing with it, they often choose to throw themselves into perfecting the funeral arrangements or choose to take on lots of extra responsibilities at work in order to keep themselves so busy that they don’t have time to think too much. However, trying to repress your grief in this manner will only work for so long. Eventually, you will find that the emotional pain caused by the passing of your loved one will start to emerge in various forms.


You might, for example, find yourself pushing away your friends and family by ignoring their calls or treating them badly because you are afraid of caring about them too much and experiencing the same grief and pain again if anything ever happens to them. Additionally, you may find yourself engaging in harmful behaviors, like drinking too much alcohol or binge eating, in order to numb your emotions. This may lead to health or financial problems and (in the case of excess drinking) put your career and relationships in jeopardy. In short, if you don’t go to counseling to deal with your grief, your emotional pain may end up having a hugely detrimental impact on your life in the long term.

7. Where To Get Help

Whilst discussing the death of your loved one and talking about your relationship with them, as well as the way in which their passing affected you, will be extremely challenging, it should ultimately help you to process your emotions and move on in a healthy manner. You can speak to your counselor about the more complex and difficult parts of your relationship with the deceased person.

8. Difficult Areas of Grieving

When someone dies, it is normal for those that knew the deceased to speak kindly about them and to only reminisce about the positive aspects of their personality. However, no one is perfect and most people have made mistakes or behaved poorly at various points in their lives. If this was the case with your recently-deceased friend or family member, you may find that you have complicated feelings about their passing that you want to talk about. 


For example, if your mother or father passed away and you had a tumultuous relationship with them, you may not only experience extreme grief but also resentment and anger, because you never got the chance to resolve the issues that caused your relationship to be so strained. In this situation, it might not be appropriate to talk about these matters with other family members who will also be going through the grieving process. Instead, it might be better to share these thoughts and feelings with a counselor. This will allow you to talk about the difficult aspects of your relationship with the deceased and the many complex emotions you are feeling as a result of their death without worrying about upsetting anyone or being harshly judged.

Final Thoughts

While the process of wrongful death may be long, the following steps will serve you well. Remember, however, that a reputable lawyer can be of much help in this process, especially if you are still going through the grieving period. Just remember the tips listed above and they will help navigate you through a tough moment in your life.