Catastrophic injuries, as well as death of a loved one or one's own mortal illness, propel one into a process of grief. Counselors list several stages of grief that one must go through in order to come to grips with a sobering new reality.  Listen to recording on grief and loss at

Some of the stages most often cited may be summarized as follows:

1. Shock and denial. "This can't be happening! There must be a mistake. It will be OK tomorrow. It's all a bad dream!" Brief denial may buffer us mentally and emotionally from the shock of facing our new reality. It helps prepare us for the next stage of grief.

2. Anger turned outward. We may be angry toward the loved one who has died or suffered grievous injury, or toward the person who caused the injury. In the legal process, we often begin working with people who are at this stage. But see Ephesians 4:26 : "Be angry, and do not sin: do not let the sun go down on your wrath." One must acknowledge anger, deal with it, and work beyond it.

3. Depression (anger turned inward). The grieving person may become depressed and blame himself for what has happened. Such self-blame is often irrational, and hardly ever productive. The resulting depression has some of the same symptoms as clinical depression, like altered sleep patterns, diminished appetite, diminished motivation, crying, feelings of hopelessness, and physical symptoms. This depression is different from clinical depression in that it is a temporary feeling -- lasting from weeks to a few years -- that one should eventually work through. Professional help is needed if one cannot work beyond this depression, and if there are any suicidal feelings.

4. Bargaining. In this stage a person will often try to bargain with God. They may promise to do anything for God, if He will only take the problem away.

5. Sadness. After the grieving person has accepted reality, he may feel a deep sadness. Memories may bring tears. However, as with the healing of a physical wound the pain usually decreases in intensity over time. One day, the good memories will again predominate.

6. Forgiveness, resolution, and acceptance. This phase is the goal of the grieving process. Although occasional feelings of anger or sadness may recur at this point, it is often possible to resume and enjoy as normal a life as physical limitations will permit.

A trial lawyer's job is not the same as that of a psychologist or pastoral counselor. However, it's good if your lawyer has empathy for the emotions you are experiencing.

Our job in pursuing civil justice for people who have suffered a catastrophic loss is not to enable them to sit around and feel sorry for themselves forever. It is to provide the means for them to become all that they can be, with what is left of their lives and abilities, and to support their quality of life in the areas in which they are not able to provide for themselves.

Most jurors like positive people who heroically strive to return to a productive life, despite daunting obstacles, better than those who focus on the negative and drown in self-pity. That is a very practical reason to work through the stages of grief toward a positive and constructive response.

Client Reviews
"Goes above and beyond and is a mountain of knowledge on spine and brain injuries. He does his research and represents you with a level of excellence. Remains a friend after representing me." Dee M., Woodstock, GA
"I have collaborated with Mr. Shigley on several initiatives within Georgia’s Judiciary over the past few years and found him to be a persistent and attentive individual. Ken has taken great pride in his involvement with the projects that I have worked on and he is good at influencing success. Despite his hectic schedule, Ken has always made time to discuss, research and review ideas for the best way to accomplish goals. I look forward to a continued working relationship in this and future roles." Jorge B., CIO, Judicial Council of Georgia
"After having to have a hole drilled in an automobile part at a machine shop 10 years ago, I told my uncle I could have done that. My uncle replied, "You are doing this once these guys do it every day" That simply means if you don't know where to turn, get help and get an expert. Ken was that help when I was severely injured during a fatal accident. Ken and his team at Shigley Law are experts, and are here to help you during your crisis. Ken will be there during the injury, recovery, and trial. He and his firm will work hard to see that you are represented fairly!" Jeremy R.
"Ken is a very kind man. He has a wealth of knowledge and is going above and beyond to help us while representing our case." Candy F., spouse of catastrophic injury client, Plains, GA
"I know Ken as trial lawyer of highest standards. Ken is knowledgeable and innovative and that translates to success in the courtroom. He is outgoing, compassionate and personable which makes him a pleasure to work with in any setting." Eric B., Attorney, Canton, GA