How to Recognize Funeral Home Malpractice | Belt, Bruner & Barnett

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How to Recognize Funeral Home Malpractice

Nov 07, 2017 | Funeral Home

Losing a loved one can be one of the most challenging and difficult events you experience in life. Those who go through the grieving process often have people to thank who have made the entire experience a little easier. These people may include funeral home staff and undertakers. Unfortunately, there are instances when funeral home malpractice occurs, making the experience of the grieving parties that much more difficult as they encounter negligent, or fraudulent activities pertaining to the preparations and arrangements for their deceased loved one.

If you have suffered from funeral home negligence, it’s important to obtain the assistance of a highly capable and experienced attorney who has both the legal knowledge and compassion to fight vigorously on your behalf for the justice and compensation you deserve. You can count on our team of funeral home negligence lawyers at Belt, Bruner, & Barnett P.C. to do just that.

Call us today at (205) 933-1500, or contact us online to request a free, no-obligation consultation.

Proving Negligence

There are several elements you will need to prove in order to demonstrate that a funeral home was negligent in its care of your loved one. These include breach, duty, causation, and harm. You must demonstrate that the funeral home was obligated to provide you with a duty of care concerning the treatment of your loved one and that its staff breached their duty, resulting in an injury on your loved one’s part that merits compensation.

Signs of Funeral Home Malpractice

The pain, loss, and grief of losing a loved one can make it difficult to stay on top of what is going on with funeral home arrangements and activities. Although there are many funeral home professionals who act with professionalism and honesty in their work, there are unfortunate instances when uncaring, unethical behavior by certain persons makes your situation even more difficult.

If you suspect that your loved one has not received the care they deserve, or that you have been cheated in some way during the process that was intended to honor your loved one, there are certain signs of funeral home malpractice of which you should be aware. They include:

  • Failure to store the body properly
  • Failure to properly embalm the body
  • Losing cremated remains
  • Cremating the wrong body
  • Carelessness in the transport of the body
  • Theft of personal property before your loved one is buried
  • Allowing an unlicensed practitioner to handle the embalming of your loved one
  • Allowing your loved one’s remains to excessively decompose due to improper embalming or storage
  • Stealing your loved one’s organs
  • Selling you a higher quality casket and then substituting it with a lesser quality one
  • Placing another body in your loved one’s cemetery plot
  • Burying the body of your loved one in the wrong cemetery plot
  • Putting your loved one with one or more other bodies into a single coffin or performing the same action of overcrowding at a mausoleum

If you can identify any of the above actions occurring in connection with the preparations and arrangements made for your loved one, then you may want to consider contacting an experienced funeral home malpractice attorney.


Many times, a funeral home engages in conduct that goes beyond all possible bounds of decency, such as the mistreatment of a corpse or egregious conduct relating to a funeral or burial. This conduct gives rise to the tort of intentional infliction of emotional distress because it was outrageous, and inflicted severe emotional distress on the deceased’s loved ones. In such a situation, the Alabama Supreme Court has provided a remedy, recognizing the tort of outrage. To prevail on a tort of outrage claim, you must prove that the conduct (1) was intentional or reckless; (2) was extreme and outrageous; and (3) caused emotional distress so severe that no reasonable person could be expected to endure it.

Damages Available

In negligence cases, you often can recover for past expenses and reasonably foreseeable future costs connected with the losses and harm you have suffered. As well, negligence associated with the body of your loved one can serve as the basis for a claim of emotional distress. The facts of your case will be unique and require the assistance and counsel of an experienced funeral home malpractice attorney who understands the nature of the harm you have incurred.

In an outrage case, punitive damages can be awarded in order to punish and deter future similar conduct.

Contact Experienced Alabama Funeral Home Malpractice Attorneys

Handling the loss of your loved one in addition to all of the funeral and burial arrangements is difficult enough. With negligence or malpractice occurring by funeral home staff, your situation could be even worse. If you believe the funeral home has engaged in malpractice regarding the arrangements for your loved one, our legal team at Belt, Bruner, & Barnett P.C. can help.

Contact us today at (205) 933-1500 for a free, no-obligation consultation.