Common Types of Funeral Home Negligence in Alabama | Belt, Bruner & Barnett Personal Injury Lawyers

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Common Types of Funeral Home Negligence in Alabama

Feb 12, 2024 | Funeral Home

No one likes to think about the emotionally devastating experience of losing a loved one and arranging their funeral. Of course, you want to honor their memory and carry out their wishes faithfully. So, you expect funeral homes to provide professional services to you and your family. However, this is not always the case.

Many funeral homes provide excellent services and treat customers with respect. But you and your family should be informed about common forms of funeral home negligence. Negligence can lead to added distress, financial burdens, and emotional trauma for grieving families. There are several common types of negligence that every family should know when seeking funeral services.

Our firm has decades of experience with funeral home negligence cases and offers support for your emotional distress and advocacy to help you recover. Call to schedule a free consultation. (205) 933-1500

1. Unlicensed Funeral Home Staff

A licensed funeral director is required to supervise the final disposition of a body in Alabama. Funeral directors must renew their licenses annually, ensuring they continue to meet standards and receive continuing education. Mistakes could occur if an unlicensed or unqualified staff member handles your loved one’s services.

2. Misrepresentation of Services and Pricing Issues

Funeral homes may falsely advertise or misrepresent the services they offer. This can lead to unanticipated costs for grieving families.

Lack of transparency around pricing can also lead to overcharging or using aggressive sales tactics to pressure families to spend beyond their budgets. Before proceeding with payment, you should have an explicit written agreement, review an itemized price list, and discuss discrepancies. Keep track of all your documents, including:

  • Contracts
  • Payment plans and receipts
  • Brochures
  • Emails or text messages

as well as any other documentation of transactions with the funeral home.

3. Losing the Decedent’s Remains

Misplacing a decedent’s remains is one of the most alarming types of funeral negligence. When a funeral home loses remains, grieving families can experience even worse emotional turmoil and feelings of betrayal and mistrust. Funeral homes must properly store, transport, and handle remains. They should maintain clear and organized records to prevent such distressing incidents. If they don’t, they may be liable for negligence.

4. Mishandling of Remains

Funeral home staff must treat all remains respectfully and follow procedure to preserve the deceased’s dignity. Improper handling of a loved one’s remains can lead to damage. Desecration can cause emotional trauma for the family and open the funeral home to possible legal action.

5. Embalming Mistakes

Embalming preserves the body for viewing or burial, a delicate process requiring precision and care. Inadequate embalming can cause the body to deteriorate faster than expected and lead to distressing conditions during the funeral service.

6. Burying or Cremating the Wrong Body

Burying or cremating the wrong body is severe negligence with far-reaching consequences. As with other aspects of handling remains, funeral homes should have strict protocols to prevent mistakes and ensure remains are properly identified.

7. Cremating or Burying Without Consent

Cremating or burying someone without proper authorization 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 your family’s wishes are respected. Funeral homes must obtain written consent before proceeding with any final disposition.

What to Do if You Suspect Funeral Home Negligence

Perhaps you’ve noticed something obviously wrong in preparation for your loved one’s funeral, such as stolen property. Or maybe your family is dissatisfied with the services you received. Although emotions may be heightened after a loved one’s passing, don’t ignore your gut feeling if things don’t feel right. You may have legal options in cases where a funeral home was negligent.

Taking action immediately can be vital to the success of your case. The sooner you contact an attorney, the better your chances of collecting evidence to support your claim. You can also report the issue and file an official complaint with the Alabama Board of Funeral Services.

Contact an Alabama Funeral Home Negligence Lawyer Today

If you experienced any of these types of funeral home negligence, get in touch with a lawyer right away. An experienced attorney knows the signs and how to build a case against the funeral home. Since most victims have never experienced funeral home negligence before, they need a legal advocate who can help them seek justice for the emotional distress they suffered.

The Birmingham funeral home negligence attorneys of Belt, Bruner & Barnett P.C. believe your loved one’s final arrangements should be handled with the care and dignity they deserve. We’ve successfully helped many families seek compensation after suffering negligence. You could recover compensation for funeral expenses, emotional distress, and more.

Even if you aren’t sure whether you have a case, our team will listen and explain your legal options. Understanding your rights and vigilance can help prevent further distress and ensure that funeral homes are held accountable for their actions.

Call (205) 933-1500 today or complete our contact form to schedule a free initial consultation.