This is a very difficult area of law. In certain cases cemetery or funeral homes incorrectly bury the wrong body resulting in grievous mental anguish and trauma to the families of the deceased. A key legal question is “are the surviving family members permitted to file a lawsuit for injuries?”
Often times before burial a deceased persons remains are improperly handled and the wrong body is assigned to the surviving families. It is only during the viewing process that the family may become aware of this issue. However, because of the extremely emotional nature of the situation many family members and visitors will not mention anything. In certain cases the mistake is only noticed or brought to the surface as the other party makes notice of the error. At this point bodies are exhumed and traded. As you can imagine this type of ordeal can be painful for the family. Funeral homes are responsible for in these types of cases. Read the following article to better understand your rights.
Psychological Damage to Relatives of the Deceased
Dealing with a such negligence gives rise to substantial psychological trauma. Having to exhume the body of a lost one can cause deep psychological trauma. The viewing period is deeply emotional and therapeutic element of the grieving process. To have a funeral home negligently provide any family the incorrect body has incalculable emotional damage.
Most of this damage will be assessed by a qualified expert or psychologist in order to fully understand the extent of your injuries. Courts have allowed for recovery for psychological damage for those who have viewed the body at the time of the funeral. In certain cases recovery for psychological damage will be extended to parties who viewed the body.
It is possible under certain circumstances to extend liability, but that is based almost entirely upon the facts. Many claims adjusters will minimize the psychological component of a claim, however this is incorrect. In fact the psychological element of your claim is the most damaging. Witnessing such actions can lead to a lifetime of fear, depression, uncertainty and other emotional issues.
Liability of Funeral Home – Funeral Director Responsibility
Generally a funeral home will be liable for negligence if they mishandled the remains. Negligence is considered a deviation from the standard. A funeral home will be negligent when they did not exercise proper care in the handling of a body. Courts can hold funeral homes to a higher degree of care or a greater duty owed to families.
What makes a funeral home negligent? When they fail to implement controls to avoid these types of issues negligence can exist. Failing to have in place certain precautions or failing to properly train staff can hold a funeral home negligent. When dealing with the handling of a body extra precautions and safe guards must be put in place. Failure to incorrectly monitor or protect against these issues will give rise to a negligence claim. If you have been the victim of funeral home negligence or abuse contact a funeral home attorney for more information.
Who Can Recover?
When suing for injuries in funeral negligence case only select family members are permitted to bring a cause of action. This is generally limited to immediate family who is permitted to file suit for injuries sustained as a result of the negligence. Immediate family who viewed the body before the funeral is permitted to file suit for damages.
The amount of damages which you may assert depends on a number of factors. This can include your relationship to the deceased and the degree of harm you suffered. In order to know whether you and or your family have a case a full evaluation of the facts is needed.
If you want to know whether you have a case it is advised that you seek the opinion of an attorney. Attorneys at the Downtown L.A. Law Group are available to answer your questions at no charge. Our office works entirely on a contingency fee basis, meaning there are no fees charged to you unless we are successful in your case.