Death is a sensitive issue. It’s very possibly the most painful experience one will face in their lifetime and it’s absolutely one that we don’t like talking about. But eventually, we all must come to grips with a family member or friend passing away. Because of the sensitive nature of death and the mourning that follows, we rely heavily on the mortuary or funeral home to take care of things for us. We ask them to organize the funeral service, make crematory or cemetery arrangements, publish the obituary in the local newspaper, and most of all, advise us as to the best options for the deceased.
Because this is such a sensitive and emotional business, we expect the highest level of ethics to be practiced. Sadly, that’s not always the case. Malpractice and negligence appear almost everywhere these days, even in funeral homes. It’s sad to think that the final resting place of a loved one can fall prey to negligence. But it does happen. There’s no excuse for carelessness or lack of attention when it comes to our loved ones. If you suspect it’s happened, you need to get legal counsel.
Funeral Home Negligence is More Common Than You Think
Funeral home and crematory neglect cases are popping up all over the country. It may seem like a new issue, but it’s not. Recorded cases of mortuary neglect date back to the Egyptians where it was considered a serious offense. The Egyptians believed in the afterlife and the proper preparation of a loved one was mandatory for that person to travel to the afterlife.
You may wonder what could go wrong at the funeral home today in our “civilized” world. In reality, quite a bit can and does go wrong. The National Funeral Directors Association was formed to foster research and to develop and maintain a high level of service in the mortuary industry. In short, they are the number one worldwide resource and advocate of all facets of funeral services. They do a great job of ensuring that ethical practices be observed, but it’s impossible for them to monitor every funeral home or mortuary.
Dealing with fraudulent practices is a serious legal issue. Regardless of a person’s faith, dignity in death is something we all want for our loved ones. And anything less should be addressed legally. That’s why it’s so important to notify us if you suspect any negligence or malpractice. We will help make sure that unacceptable conduct will not be allowed to continue.
Examples of Funeral Home Negligence
Some of the most common unethical practices have included preserving only the visible parts of the body. This unethical behavior is an example of outright fraud as the families of the deceased have undoubtedly been charged for full body treatment. Other practices, as disturbing as they are, include:
- Improper embalming or storage of body
- Stolen organs for the purpose of resale
- Commingling of ashes
- Unethical treatment of the deceased
- Loss of cremated remains
- Stealing of personal property such as jewelry, gold fillings, etc.
- Failure to tend to gravesite
- Burial at the wrong gravesite
The list goes on and reads like a horror story you would expect to see at the movies. Take the time to be aware of the signs of negligence, only deal with well-known reputable mortuaries, and always consult with us if you feel that neglect or carelessness has occurred.
Types of Damages You Can Retrieve
There are five types of damages you may be able to retrieve with a funeral home lawsuit:
- Actual Damage
- Lost Wages
- Emotional Distress
- Medical Bills
- Punitive Damages
In order to retrieve these damages, you need to keep a lookout for the five signs of negligence and be able to prove it.
If You’ve Been a Victim of Funeral Home Negligence, Let Us Help You
At Carey, Leisure & Neal, we have over three decades of combined experience successfully representing clients. All of our attorneys are accessible and Board Certified in Civil Trial Law. Whether you need accident attorneys in Clearwater, St. Petersburg, or elsewhere in the Tampa Bay area, we’re here to help. online or call us at 727-799-3900 to schedule a free consultation.
Disclaimer: This blog is for informational purposes only and does not create an attorney/client relationship.