Dealing With the Effects of Grief After a Fatal Accident

hands of 2 people held together while grieving

A tragic accident is devastating for everybody involved. However, making it through the traumatic event is only the first step. Many people neglect to think about the aftermath of emotions and physical healing that must take place after losing somebody to an accident. Grief is a coping process that our bodies and minds need to feel and work through in order to come out on the other side.

Our team of wrongful death attorneys shares some important things to remember when dealing with the effects of grief after losing a loved one in an accident.

What Is Grief?

Grief is a powerful emotion that is a natural reaction to loss. Various levels of grief accompany each unique situation, and it is a process that must be worked through for healing and acceptance to happen.

Are you the victim of a tragic loss? You may be able to bring a wrongful death claim. Contact us today for a free consultation.

What Are the Symptoms of Grief?

Depending on the gravity of the loss, grief can manifest itself in many ways. Some symptoms from coping with the loss may include:

  • Numbness
  • Detachment
  • Bitterness
  • Lack of trust
  • All-consuming thoughts about the loss or person who died
  • Difficulty with acceptance
  • Intense sorrow, pain, or depression
  • Inability to enjoy life
  • Difficulty resuming normal routines
  • Isolation from friends or family members
  • Guilt or blaming yourself for the death of a loved one

How Does Grieving Affect the Body?

Although grief may seem like an internal process, there are apparent physical effects of grieving1 on the body that can be as difficult to deal with as emotions. Here are some of the physical impacts of loss and grief.

1. Aches and Pains

A sudden increase of stress hormones can lead to tension and physical pain in joints and the neck, causing headaches, body stiffness, or chest pain.

2. Digestion Issues

Stress may also cause adverse physical symptoms to your digestive system. Loss of appetite, nausea, binge eating, or IBS may result from coping with grief.

3. Fatigue or Sleep Issues

Insomnia or difficulty shutting off thoughts at night can be a big issue in the early processing of grief. Lack of sleep should be a short-term issue, and it’s crucial to get help if sleep issues hang around for a long time.

4. Heart Problems

Intense grief can disrupt blood being pumped into the heart. This condition is known as broken heart syndrome2, and while only a temporary condition, it can mimic the feel of a heart attack with shortness of breath and chest pain.

5. Lowered Immunity

During the grieving process, stress can sometimes interfere with the body’s immune system and the ability to produce certain white blood cells, making bodies more prone to infection.

You are not alone. Let us help you fight for justice during this difficult time. Schedule a free consultation today.

What Is the Effect of Grief on the Mind?

For the brain, feelings of intense loss can be interpreted as a threat to survival. The brain makes new connections while others are suppressed in order to deal with imminent survival needs. Some of these mental responses to tragedy3 could include:

1. Changes in Neurological Connections

Depending on the duration and intensity of grief, the brain creates or minimizes certain neurological connections to compensate for illness, loss, or injury to help deal with changing environments and situations.

2. Decreased Brain Function

Chronic and intense stress can reduce nerve growth, affect memory, and raise fears as a response to a tragedy that can put your body in survival mode. Long-term grief can affect decision-making, memory, attention, word fluency, and information processing.

How Long Is the Grieving Process?

While there is no standard time for the grieving process, most people must move through certain stages of grief4 to reach acceptance and move forward. These stages are:

  1. Denial
  2. Anger
  3. Bargaining
  4. Depression
  5. Acceptance

Not everyone follows this exact order of progression or experiences every stage. It’s essential to allow yourself and others the space to work through the emotions and process of healing to eventually lead to the acceptance of a new way of life and the ability to move forward.

It’s possible to start feeling better in a few weeks or months. However, for traumatic events, it may be years before true healing can take place. Most people need to work through these steps to begin to feel better.

Let us help you rebuild your life. We’re ready to fight for the compensation you deserve. Contact us today to learn more.

What Are Tips To Help Cope With Grief?

While the impact of loss and grief can seriously disrupt mental health and physical well-being, recovery is possible, even when the grieving process is long term. The steps of dealing with grief are very personal and can vary significantly between individuals. Here are some things that may help:

  • Mindfulness and relaxation
  • Journaling through emotions
  • Counseling
  • Cognitive behavior therapy
  • Joining a support group
  • Returning to your hobbies
  • Talking to others

It’s important to remember to take it one day at a time and to be gentle with yourself and patient with the grieving process.

If debilitating feelings of loss and grief don’t improve, you may be experiencing complicated grief5. Complicated grief results from pain so severe that people have difficulty recovering from the loss and resuming their lives. In these instances, it’s essential to seek help from a medical professional.

Where Can I Get Help While Grieving?

If a loved one dies or you experience trauma or loss in other areas of your life and you’re not sure how to deal with grief, many people benefit from getting help during the grieving process. You may find the support you need from:

  • Therapists or grief counselors
  • Friends and family members
  • Faith or religious traditions
  • Support groups

Unfortunately, grief is a part of life, and it’s important to remember that you are not alone. Make a point to reach out to others to get the help you need to heal and move through difficult circumstances.

Legal Support After a Wrongful Death

Dealing with a loss can disrupt life, lead to health issues, and create financial strain. If you believe the death of your family member could have been avoided, contact our wrongful death lawyers to see if you deserve compensation for your losses. Our team is ready to support you every step of the way and help you start to rebuild your life.


1Pathways Health. Grief Can Have Very Real Physical Symptoms. Retrieved 23 March 2022.
2Mayo Clinic. (24 November 2021). Broken heart syndrome. Retrieved 23 March 2022.
3American Brain Foundation. (20 September 2021). Healing Your Brain After Loss: How Grief Rewires the Brain. Retrieved 23 March 2022.
4Holland, K. (25 September 2018). What You Should Know About the Stages of Grief. Healthline. Retrieved 23 March 2022.
5Ohwovoriole, T. (27 January 2021). What Is Complicated Grief? Verywell Mind. Retrieved 23 March 2022.

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