The best way to honor a loved one following their demise is by ensuring they have a burial or cremation that aligns with their wishes. This is why many people rely on funeral homes. Obviously, anyone who enlists the services of a funeral home in these situations is instilling a generous amount of trust in them.
Sadly, funeral homes can violate their clients’ trust in a variety of ways, including by providing inaccurate information. When this happens, the results can move from unpleasant to egregious rather quickly. The motivating factors behind this kind of behavior could be greed, incompetence, or something even more calculated.
Most importantly, when a funeral home violates your trust, they need to be held accountable. Doing so requires the services of a qualified funeral home attorney. After you file a personal injury lawsuit against the funeral home, a funeral home abuse attorney can represent your interests in civil court and advocate on your behalf.
If you or a loved one need to hold a funeral home accountable, here are some steps you and a funeral home attorney can take.
What Is Funeral Home Negligence?
In a legal sense, negligence constitutes a breach of a duty of care. When a funeral home commits negligence, it is directly contradicting the entirety of its mission and places you and your family in a precarious position.
Funeral home neglect can occur in several ways and encompasses a variety of factors, including:
- Failing or refusing to conduct contractually obligated services
- Cremating someone who should have been buried
- Placing the wrong body in a casket and holding an open casket viewing
- Losing or mishandling the body or cremated remains
- Embalming the body, regardless of what the family wants
- Failing to embalm and having the body decompose prior to the viewing
- Damaging or maiming the body during transport
- Improperly disposing remains
- Burying the body in the wrong location
Any of these situations can severely impact everyone involved. More specifically, it can traumatize the families of the deceased. In the context of a loved one’s funeral services or cremation, you should not tolerate any amount of neglect.
If this situation has happened to you, it is imperative that you consult a qualified funeral home negligence lawyer in Philadelphia who can hold the funeral home accountable.
Here are a few specific examples and how they might happen.
Funeral home theft is more common than one would think. It includes gravesite robberies and instances where funeral home staff remove valuables from the body before cremation or burial. Aside from violating trust, this is a blatant gesture of disrespect to your loved one’s memory and should be treated as such.
In the context of misidentification, funeral home negligence can extend to the body of the deceased as well as the gravesite. If no one notices these instances of negligence, the victims might be unable to find recourse in the future.
One of the worst instances of funeral home misidentification involves the wrong body being cremated. This irreversible instance of negligence can have a disastrous impact on the deceased’s loved ones, as well as profound consequences for the funeral home.
In addition to cremation, misidentification can also occur during a funeral service. If you have a closed-casket funeral for your loved one, make sure someone is tasked with evaluating the funeral home’s efficiency, including whether the ceremony is progressing without issue. If they uncover any misidentification, it should be handled immediately by the funeral home.
One specific instance of funeral home neglect that many people fail to consider is when a funeral home attempts to exert undue influence on one particular family member. By contacting this family member rather than the designated point of contact, the funeral home could be operating in a negligent manner.
Funeral homes often do this in an attempt to bring about a specific outcome or effect that the designated family member would not allow to happen. If this has happened to you or a loved one, it is time to consult a qualified funeral home abuse attorney.
Inadequate Grave Maintenance
If a funeral home botches the burial or fails to properly maintain the gravesite, it could be seen as an instance of negligence. Beyond the ongoing gravesite maintenance, a funeral home is responsible for properly presenting the body during the funeral. Failure to do so would also fall under this category.
Additionally, inadequate gravesite maintenance could extend to improper security measures. Unfortunately, improper security measures are a magnet for graverobbing. Whether the attempts are successful or not has to do with a variety of factors, but the main point is that if the funeral home had instituted proper security from the beginning, the attempt would not have occurred in the first place.
Inadequate security that could potentially lead to graverobbing is one thing. Having actual instances of graverobbing is another. While it is shocking and disturbing, it does happen. If your loved one’s final resting place is disturbed or vandalized, it is important to hold those responsible accountable.
Further, if the funeral home engaged in deceptive acts that resulted in the disturbance of your loved one’s final resting place, they should be held accountable for their negligence. If this has recently happened to you, contact a funeral home negligence lawyer as soon as possible.
Choosing the Right Funeral Home Attorney
When it comes to holding the offending funeral home accountable, you want to make sure you hire a Philadelphia-based funeral home lawyer who can rise to the occasion. Mceldrew Purtell has served the Philadelphia area with excellence for years.
As established Philadelphia funeral home abuse attorneys, we have helped a variety of clients recover compensation. Mceldrew Purtell can handle everything from funeral home negligence to improper death and more. When you hire us, we will use our working knowledge of the law to advocate on your behalf and hold those who wronged you accountable.
Don’t settle for a lackluster funeral home lawyer. Contact us today for a free consultation, and let us know what we can do to help.