It is always difficult to lose someone you love. Most people make the arrangements for a funeral or memorial, burial or cremation, in a kind of haze. No matter how stressful the death, however, when funeral arrangements or disposal of remains go awry, the family’s pain worsens. To think of the remains of your loved one mixed up with those of a stranger, cremated when you wanted a burial, or lost altogether can be unbearable. If your family is faced with such a calamity (which happens more frequently than you might think), you may feel helpless, angry, and financially exploited.
At Willcox, Buyck & Williams, P.A.we are not only sympathetic about what you have been through, but we also have the legal knowledge and talent necessary to face the situation head-on. Our skilled funeral law attorneys are prepared to hold those responsible liable for their terrible blunders. Our practice has represented many clients in such cases and has a track record of successful outcomes. We are dedicated to fighting for your rights and for the dignity of the deceased and making sure that you are well-compensated.
What are some of the mistakes made by funeral parlors and crematories?
There are a number of errors that may be devastating to the families of the deceased. These include:
- Cremating the body instead of burying it or vice versa
- Burying the body in the wrong location
- Mixing up the identities of two bodies so that the wrong body is in the casket
- Burying a body in the wrong plot
- Giving the family the wrong person’s ashes or ashes mixed with those of another person
Whether you have experienced one of these misfortunes or some other serious funeral mistake, Willcox, Buyck & Williams has the sharp funeral law attorneys to negotiate a reasonable settlement or to litigate your case aggressively in a court of law.
Categories of Funeral Negligence Under Funeral Law
Funeral negligence generally falls into one of the following categories:
- Mishandling of Remains
Reckless behavior on the part of those handling the body, apart from careless misidentification, includes improper storage, careless transport (e.g. dropping the body), placing multiple bodies into a single casket, and/or damaging the corpse.
- Embalming Errors
While the embalming process is meant to preserve the body, miscalculations can cause disfigurement that forces families to have closed caskets.
- Cremation Errors
As mentioned, cremation, if not performed with great care, can result in the ashes of several bodies being mislabeled or mixed together, showing a disturbing lack of concern and respect for the deceased and their families.
- Theft and Fraud
Many people report that jewelry or other valuables have been stolen from their loved ones’ bodies. Overcharging is also a common complaint. For unscrupulous funeral directors, bereaved families are easy targets since they are overwhelmed and unlikely to question methods or to “comparison shop.”
- Cemetery Negligence
Some clients find that the cemetery fails to keep up its end of the bargain by maintaining the gravesite to their satisfaction. More disturbing is that some cemeteries have been convicted of burying many bodies in the same plot, moving bodies to other sites, and reselling plots already occupied.
Facts that Make the Situation Even Worse
We all know that mistakes occur in every aspect of life, but funeral mistakes are particularly disturbing because they happen when emotions are raw. In too many cases, what may hurt the worst is that family members don’t know that there has been a terrible mistake until the funeral is in process. At times, the error is only discovered during the solemnity of a prayer or whispered reminiscences in the funeral parlor when someone approaches the casket and cries out, “That’s not Aunt Tina!”
Sometimes, the news comes later when the funeral parlor or crematory discovers the error and notifies the horrified family that they the person they have been visiting at the cemetery is not their mother, or that they have an urn on the mantle that does not contain the ashes of Grandpa Phil. Even worse, funeral establishments have been known to cover up their mistakes by fraudulent behavior in their attempts to protect themselves from lawsuits and/or criminal prosecution. Examples of such concealment may include deliberately cremating a body because they have mishandled and defaced it or changing their records to “prove” that the mistake never happened.
How Our Funeral Law Attorney Can Get You The Compensation You Deserve
If you and your family have suffered the added pain of funeral negligence, recklessness, or fraud, we are well-prepared to fight for your right to substantial compensation. You are entitled to be reimbursed for goods (e.g. caskets or urns) and services (e.g. burials, embalming, cremation, funeral costs) as well as compensated for your ongoing emotional trauma. Contact us as soon as you can so our forceful family law attorneys can begin working to restore your sense of justice.