It can be confusing to figure out who has the legal right to file a lawsuit against a funeral home for negligence. Some family members may have the authority, however certain provisions apply.
Who Can Sue a Funeral Home for Negligence?
Those who can sue for damages following funeral home negligence include the following:
- Surviving spouse
- Surviving children
- Surviving parents
- Any heir mentioned in the decedent’s will
How to Prove Negligence
To prevail in any type of negligence action, you must prove the existence of four elements:
The entity being sued must owe you a duty of care. In funeral home cases, this duty is established with a signed contract for services and/or goods (you don’t necessarily have to purchase a casket, in some instances the contract is for services only).
The breach of duty of care encompasses anything that does not align with the terms of the contract and by what is required by law. This includes proper storage of your loved one, proper embalming if requested, providing the casket or urn you chose, safekeeping of items to be worn by your loved one, and any additional term included in the contract.
The breach of duty of care must be the proximate cause of your damages.
Damages can include lost property, overpaying for goods or services, being provided something different from what you paid for, and/or emotional distress.
It’s important to note that while some lawsuits against funeral homes arise out of negligence, some misconduct is intentional, such is the case with theft of items, fraud, abusing the decedent’s body, or selling organs. When such instances occur, you may file a civil lawsuit citing the intentional behavior, as well as alert the authorities to initiate criminal charges.
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. Let us help you. Contact us 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.