Grievance Counseling and it’s Role in Florida Wrongful Death Claims
Wrongful death claims result from the loss of a human life, oftentimes under the most traumatic and unexpected circumstances. The magnitude of such a loss inevitably alters nearly every dimension of the lives of the deceased’s survivors. Though it is generally difficult for individuals to empathize with the prolonged and intense emotional pain that is a part of the grieving process, communicating that loss to a jury is an even greater challenge for trial attorneys litigating wrongful death cases. The attorneys at the Volusia County based law firm of Rue & Ziffra, P.A., know how to prove that wrongful death cases typically involve damages that go beyond funeral expenses, medical bills, lost wages and ordinary pain and suffering.
The Rue and Ziffra trial lawyers work together with mental health care professionals to assist survivors through the wrongful death litigation process. Specifically, a grief counselor can help focus on the damages aspect of the lawsuit. The grievance counselor oftentimes plays a critical role in not only helping the family through their time of need but also functions to explain and articulate the unique loss suffered by each family member. In the wake of a wrongful death, each surviving family member suffers his or her distinct loss. A grief counselor’s testimony is designed to concentrate the jury’s attention on the survivor’s emotional suffering and anguish and the factors associated with this most significant loss.
At trial, the grief counselor can best explain to the jury the intricacies of the grief and emotional trauma suffered by each family member. Likewise, the grief counselor will describe how the grief and bereavement will likely affect each family member in the future. Ultimately, putting together powerful lay witness testimony and the supporting testimony of a grief counselor will most effectively focus the jury’s attention on the survivor’s damages. Not to mention, this trial approach gives the supportive jurors the leverage they may need to persuade less favorable jurors to include sufficient emotional damages in the verdict. This testimony is invaluable in presenting the extent and significance of these unique emotional damages to a jury. The presence of a grievance counselor allows the trial attorney to avoid the potential pitfall of alienating the jury when questioning the bereaved. In other words, the grievance counselor can explain and support the emotional damages to the jury in lieu of the attorney having to solicit the inevitably painful and difficult testimony from the survivor. This technique allows the survivor’s testimony to instead focus on the grieving and coping process, leaving the survivor looking like a fighter. The counselor’s testimony also serves to alleviate some of the survivor’s burden to give extensive testimony as to the emotional impact of the loss. Grief counselor testimony can similarly work to overcome what is sometimes seen as juror bias or misconception in Florida wrongful death cases.
Grief counselors help the victims to identify their feelings, work through the intense pain and suffering, and adapt to a new way of life and get accustomed to a different familial role. Likewise, open communication is sometimes difficult after a family member has suffered such an enormous loss. Grief counselors serve to assist the attorney in establishing and maintaining meaningful communication with the survivors. Also important is the fact that the counselor can assist in identifying areas of damages testimony the attorney may otherwise overlook. Though professional counselors are available to help, clinical psychologists, psychiatrists, specially trained nurses, pastoral counselors and even clinical social workers can serve the function as grief counselor.
Contact the wrongful death and personal injury attorneys at Rue and Ziffra if you believe another party is responsible for the loss of a loved one. Though you cannot foresee the sudden, unexpected, and traumatic passing of a family member, you can prepare for the inevitable changes in your family’s future. Call today to speak with one of Rue and Ziffra’s experienced attorneys. Our team of legal professionals takes immense pride in assisting families dealing with the loss of a loved one.