What Happens When a Funeral Home Loses or Damages a Body?

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Posted By | December 20, 2023 | Personal Injury

Your lost loved one’s memory is precious, and so are their remains, which should be treated with the respect and dignity your beloved family member deserves. But what happens when a funeral home fails in its duty to apply this thoughtful consideration to your loved one? It’s beyond distressing to contemplate taking on legal action while you’re dealing with the loss of a family member, but when a funeral home makes an error or commits an act of negligence or purposeful abuse that takes away from your right to say goodbye to your loved one, you can be the voice of justice your lost family member deserves. A successful lawsuit against a negligent or wrongful action by a funeral home can help family members achieve the justice and closure they need after an unthinkable situation.

Examples of Negligence or Wrongful Actions in Funeral Home Liability Claims

A family’s plan for a viewing, funeral, and burial is more than just ceremonial, it’s an essential way to say goodbye while honoring the loved one’s memory. When something goes wrong, it’s a painful added blow during a vulnerable time. Despite their compassionate ads and warm, respectful tones, errors, negligence, and abhorrent abuses sometimes occur in funeral homes, including some of the following acts:

  • Improper embalming resulting in disfigurement of the decedent
  • Improper storage, resulting in decay
  • Failing to meet appropriate standards for presenting a body for viewing
  • Identification mistakes resulting in the cremation of the wrong body
  • Losing cremated remains or loss of an intact body
  • Incorrect burial location
  • Improperly handling a body resulting in damage
  • Burying a body in the incorrect coffin, or a cheaper, lower-quality coffin than the one purchased by the family
  • Allowing unlicensed employees to handle or treat the body
  • Displaying the wrong body at a viewing
  • Fraud or purposeful actions to deceive survivors
  • Crowded storage conditions or stacking bodies
  • Failing to provide a marker for a grave site
  • Insufficient cemetery security resulting in grave vandalism
  • Stealing personal property from the decedent
  • Selling body parts
  • Physically or sexually abusing a body

Mistakes happen, but when funeral home employees commit gross negligence, wrongful actions, or egregious acts on a loved one’s remains, the family members deserve justice and compensation for their damages.

What Legal Actions are Available in Funeral Home Negligence Cases?

If your loved one’s remains were mistreated in a funeral home, it’s best to speak to an experienced McKinney funeral home negligence lawyer about your options. Legal actions against negligent or wrongful actions in funeral homes include:

  • Personal lawsuits
  • Class-action lawsuits
  • Fraud claims

Funeral homes have a duty of care to deceased individuals and their loved ones. When they breach this duty through negligence or wrongdoing, the family members deserve compensation.

Damages Available in Funeral Home Negligence Claims

A successful claim for damages in funeral home negligence cases includes settlements or jury awards for economic damages for corrective actions taken by the family, such as replacements of caskets and grave markers, transportation costs to move remains to a new funeral home or burial location, income loss if investigating and righting the wrongful actions of a funeral home causes a family member to lose workdays, and reimbursement for expenses if family members have to reschedule a viewing, funeral, or burial. Family members may also claim non-economic damages like compensation for the emotional anguish they’ve suffered as a result of the negligent or wrongful treatment of their loved one’s remains.

Everyone deserves to experience a thoughtful, dignified, and beautiful goodbye to a loved one who’s passed, and deceased family members deserve respectful treatment by those tasked with their final care. If a funeral home fails in this task, the owners and operators are liable for damages.

Contact Carew Garcia Bohuslav Law today for a free case evaluation.