The mere thought of a funeral home being negligent in their handling of a deceased person’s remains is enough to make most people cringe, yet it is an unfortunately common occurrence. Despite the fact that common decency demands that people who have died are treated with respect, and that those who mourn them receive solicitous attention and care, there are some funeral home directors and mortuaries who lack professionalism and who fail in their professional responsibility. Most people who are victimized by these unscrupulous practitioners don’t even realize what has happened until the wrong has already been done: this is partially because we have an expectation that a person in that position would automatically do the right thing and behave appropriately, and partially because they were in a cloud of grief while the negligence was taking place.
Fortunately, those who have been taken advantage of have a few ways to combat and prevent funeral home negligence. There are a few things that you can do to protect your loved ones from being victimized, and actions you can take if it turns out that funeral home negligence has already happened. The three top ways to protect against funeral home negligence are:
- Do your homework and use a funeral home that has provided care for your family in the past, or that was highly recommended by people who you trust
- Investigate the funeral home to see whether any complaints have been filed against them with the Better Business Bureau or with any professional funeral societies
- Understand your rights before you meet with the funeral home representative. Funeral homes are required to accept caskets that mourners purchase elsewhere, and are supposed to show you complete price lists for caskets rather than simply offering you a choice of expensive models. You can also ask to inspect the gravesite both before and after burial.
When you find out that the worst has happened and your loved one’s body has been mishandled or the services that you have contracted for were not provided, you have a right to pursue legal action. There are many examples of what constitutes funeral home negligence, including:
- Removing body parts or organs and selling them
- Not providing proper storage of a body
- Not providing proper embalming of a body
- Losing remains
- Cremating a body that was supposed to be buried
- Burying a body that was supposed to be cremated
- Burying the wrong body in a plot that somebody has paid for
- Burying multiple bodies in the same plot
- Removing personal property from the casket or body of the deceased
- Abuse of a corpse
- Digging up coffins and reselling/reusing them
- Placing multiple bodies in a single coffin
Any of the examples above, and many others, are truly horrific and if they have happened to you then you need solid legal representation by experienced attorneys who care. Call the Philadelphia law firm of Bochetto & Lentz today to learn more about how we can help.