Wrongful Cremation: The Ins and Outs
Posted in JOAN WILLIAMS on December 18, 2019
When a family member or loved one passes away, it is expected that the funeral home and/or mortuary will treat them with the respect and care that they deserve. Unfortunately, this isn’t always the case.
Mistakes can – and do – occur. One such horrible and neglectful act is a wrongful cremation. Dereliction of duty can lead to improper cremation practices, leaving the remains unidentifiable.
Losing a loved one is tragic enough without having to go through a wrongful cremation. If you believe your loved one has been the victim of funeral or cemetery negligence, know that you do have legal rights to hold those responsible accountable for their negligence. Contact the Texas funeral negligence lawsuit attorney of De La Garza Law Firm today at (956) 275-3768 for a FREE consultation.
What Are the Legal Requirements for a Cremation?
When planning for a loved one’s cremation, the decedent’s death certificate and permission from the coroner are required. Some states require a cremation authorization form, which must be signed by the next of kin (usually the spouse).
Normally, rigorous identification methods must be followed, including:
- The body should be placed in a body bag with a proper and accurate ID tag.
- The I.D. tag goes into the crematorium with the body.
- The identifying tag stays with the body.
- Paperwork is completed and the container is flagged with the proper ID of the person it holds within.
- The crematory is also labeled, so there can be no mistake as to which body is in a specific crematorium.
However, when you give your loved one’s body to a funeral home, the cremation (or burial process) doesn’t begin right away. The funeral home may have to move or hold the remains of your loved one for some time.
Unfortunately, this can create a setting for a host of negligent acts on the part of the funeral home.
What Are Some Examples of Wrongful Cremation?
When the individuals handling your loved ones’ remains are not careful, this can lead to improper cremation practices, including the cremation of the wrong body, the loss of body/remains, the mixing of ashes of multiple individuals, the mislabeling of remains that leads to the wrong family getting the ashes, a failure to adequately cremate the body, and other such incidents.
In the worst representation of gross misconduct, there have also been a number of cases where funeral homes have actually been caught in the ghoulish process of illegally selling body parts.
Alongside issues related to wrongful cremation practices, there is also the issue of overcharging. Overcharging grieving families for burial procedures and cremation services is viewed as “funeral home negligence.” This can occur when funeral homes try to render services that aren’t necessary or when the agency decides to overcharge for their services for no other clear reason than financial gain.
Seeking Just for a Wrongful Cremation
While wrongful cremations are not terribly common, they can be severely impactful when they do occur. There is no way to restore your loved one’s remains or ever truly set the situation right. It is because of the severity of the situation that litigation is often sought when a family does go through such an experience.
When dealing with negligence or incompetence from an end-of-life service provider, there are several legal options that families can take to attempt to correct the issue, including:
- Filing an individual lawsuit
- Filing a class action lawsuit if multiple parties are involved
- Filing a bad faith/fraud claim
Depending on the circumstances of your specific case, you may need to file a claim against multiple defendants including the funeral home, crematorium, or hospital.
While all may seem lost, there is hope to secure justice against those who have harmed you and your family. The McAllen personal injury lawyer of De La Garza Law Firm has the experience, skill, and determination to get you the results that you deserve.