The Top 10 Most Common Types of Funeral Negligence

The Most Common Funeral Home Negligence Cases at Traction Law Group

Any one of the types of funeral negligence can cause severe distress during an already difficult time. To raise awareness and help families identify potential issues, we’ve compiled a comprehensive list of the top 10 types of cases we counter, along with explanations and possible consequences:

1. Losing The Body or Ashes of the Decedent:

Misplacing a decedent’s remains or ashes is one of the most alarming types of funeral negligence. When a funeral home loses a body or cremains, it may cause significant emotional pain for grieving families and result in feelings of betrayal and mistrust. Funeral homes must always ensure proper handling and storage of remains, maintaining clear records, and using identification tags to prevent such distressing incidents.

2. Mishandling the Body of the Decedent:

Inadequate or improper handling of a decedent’s body can result in damage or desecration. Funeral home staff must treat all remains respectfully and follow proper procedures to preserve the deceased’s dignity. Mishandling can cause irreversible emotional trauma for the family and may lead to legal action against the funeral home.

3. Burying or Cremating the Wrong Body:

Burying or cremating the wrong body is severe negligence with far-reaching consequences. Funeral homes must have strict protocols to prevent such mix-ups and ensure the proper identification of remains. Standard procedures include using identification tags, maintaining accurate records, and conducting regular checks. Failure to do so can result in legal action and significant damage to the funeral home’s reputation.

4. Sexual Abuse of A Decedent:

Acts of sexual abuse or desecration of a decedent’s remains are unethical and illegal. Families affected by this kind of abuse may experience severe emotional distress and may pursue legal action against the funeral home and the individuals responsible for the abuse. Funeral home staff must be carefully screened and monitored to prevent such incidents.

5. Selling Parts or Organs of the Decedent’s Body:

The unauthorized sale of body parts or organs violates a decedent’s and family’s rights. Engaging in illegal activities like selling organs or tissues can lead to criminal charges, lawsuits, and severe damage to the funeral home’s reputation. Funeral homes must follow all applicable laws and regulations regarding organ and tissue donation.

6. Cremating or Burying Without Consent:

Cremating or burying a decedent without proper authorization from the family is a breach of trust and can result in legal action. Proper documentation and clear communication with the family are crucial to avoid misunderstandings and ensure that the family’s wishes are respected. Funeral homes must obtain written consent before proceeding with any final disposition.

7. Using the Wrong Gravesite or Plot:

Incorrectly using a gravesite or plot can cause emotional distress for the family and may require disinterment, which can be a traumatic experience. To avoid such errors, funeral homes must ensure accurate records and communication with cemeteries. Families may seek legal recourse for the emotional distress and financial damages caused by the need to relocate their loved one’s remains.

8. Providing the Wrong Body at the Service:

Presenting the wrong body at a funeral service can be a traumatic experience for the family and can damage the funeral home’s reputation. Funeral homes must follow strict identification protocols to prevent such incidents. Regular checks and double verification of the decedent’s identity can help avoid this negligence, ensuring the family can properly mourn their loved one.

9. Unlicensed Funeral Home Staff:

Allowing unlicensed or unqualified staff to handle decedent remains or provide funeral services can lead to negligence and legal issues. Funeral homes must ensure all staff members have the appropriate training and licensure. Hiring licensed professionals helps ensure services are carried out to a high standard and by applicable laws and regulations. Unqualified staff members may make mistakes, leading to emotional distress for the family and potential legal action against the funeral home.

10. Moving a Buried Decedent’s Remains:

Unauthorized relocation of a decedent’s remains can cause significant distress for the family. Funeral homes and cemeteries must follow all legal procedures and obtain consent from the family before moving any buried remains. Improper relocation may lead to legal disputes and damage the relationship between the family, the funeral home, and the cemetery. Clear communication and adherence to legal guidelines can help prevent such unfortunate situations.

Recourse for Funeral Home Negligence Issues

Families can better protect themselves and their loved ones during a challenging time by being aware of these types of funeral negligence. If you suspect you are a victim, consider filing a complaint or consulting with an attorney experienced in funeral home negligence cases. Understanding your rights and vigilance can help prevent further distress and ensure that funeral homes are held accountable for their actions.

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