The death of a loved one is hard enough. However, if you find the funeral home or cemetery you entrusted with your loved one’s last wishes are not carried out, it can add years more to your grieving process. When you pay a funeral home or cemetery to manage your loved one’s arrangements and they fail to provide the services in a dignified manner, you have a right to seek compensation for their negligence.
Here we offer examples of funeral and cemetery negligence and what action can be taken to be compensated for your loss.
What is Funeral and Cemetery Negligence?
It is something most of us would not even think about, yet it happens more often than you might think. Funeral and cemetery negligence occurs when the funeral home you hire to perform the final wishes of your loved one fails to meet the full needs of your contract. When grieving we are vulnerable and can fall into contracts that don’t put our best interests first.
In the case of funeral and cemetery negligence, the service provider fails to handle the departed with dignity and respect, and does not follow through with the expected terms based on religion or faith, as well as other details agreed to in the contract. Treating the remains with a lack of respect is considered cemetery desecration, while other negligent acts can be based on fraudulent or unethical practices or breach of contract.
Examples of Funeral Home Negligence
It can be very easy for funeral homes and cemeteries to use unethical practices that are hard to discover by families. Some examples of funeral home negligence include:
- Only preserving parts of the body that are visible to save money
- Failure to store or embalm the body properly
- Selling organs
- Commingling ashes
- Unethical treatment of the body
- Losing ashes
- Stealing personal effects from bodies
- Removing gold fillings
- Poor maintenance of gravesites
- Burying the body in the wrong place
- Reusing expensive coffins and burying the deceased without a coffin or in a cheaper coffin
- Burying more than one body in a private burial plot or coffin
- Mishandling of bodies including purposeful or unintentional mutilation
- Lost or switched bodies
- General incompetence
- Sexual abuse
You can sue a cemetery based on a number of things whether it is a breach of contract, negligence, or misrepresentation.
Building Your Case
There are three basic avenues your funeral and cemetery negligence attorney might choose:
- Negligence: You can sue based on negligence by showing a duty of care is breached such as failure to maintain a gravesite, not taking care of a gravesite that was vandalized, putting the wrong body in a casket, etc.
- Misrepresentation: In this case, a cemetery intentionally misstates or omits the terms of the contract. A good example is offering what is referred to as a “green” funeral service without explaining that this service is actually stacking bodies one on top of the other in a gravesite.
- Breach of Contract: This is a little different than misrepresentation as in this case the cemetery fails to carry out the terms of the contract.