How to Seek Damages for Funeral and Burial Costs
Wrongful death lawsuits can be extremely emotionally draining for a family, which has just experienced the loss of a loved one. As Pennsylvania wrongful death lawyers, we know, that for many families, money is not the primary motivation for filing a wrongful death lawsuit. Auto accidents and other negligent acts, which lead to tragic deaths, do not get criminally prosecuted. So, in these cases, the civil justice system is often the only way for families that have lost loved ones to not only get financially compensated for their terrible losses, but also get some semblance of justice for their loved one.
While many of us can immediately identify with the emotional loss after the death of a family member, it is difficult to visualize the financial blows such a loss can deal to families. In the aftermath of an untimely death, families are looking right away at loss of income contributed by the decedent. They are looking at a number of expenses linked to the incident. If the victim was in the hospital or undergoing treatment or surgery after the incident, the family may be looking at medical bills.
Cost of a Funeral
One of the biggest expenses after a death is funeral costs. Like all other expenses, funeral costs have risen with inflation. The average cost of a traditional funeral could range between $7,000 and $10,000. This includes services at the funeral home, burial (in a cemetery) and installation of a headstone.
Funeral prices may vary considerably from funeral home to funeral home and depending on where you live. But, in addition to the services and burial, there are other costs including but not limited to funeral director fees, cost of a casket, embalming, cost of a grave site and headstone. A cremation and service could add up to close to $5,000.
Seeking Damages for Funeral Costs
When it comes to wrongful death cases, it is common to seek compensation to cover the cost of funeral expenses. Generally speaking, in wrongful death cases, there are two types of damages that are sought. Compensatory damages are intended to cover the material, quantifiable losses sustained by the decedent’s family. This often includes funeral and burial costs. Punitive damages, on the other hand, are intended to punish an at-fault party for their negligence or wrongful action.
So, when it comes to covering funeral expenses, those will be calculated as part of the compensatory damages in a wrongful death case. The total amount sought will depend on the type of funeral. It is crucial that you preserve any receipts, bills, invoices and other documents and records associated with the funeral. This will be necessary should you choose to pursue a wrongful death claim. In addition to funeral expenses, compensatory damages could also cover medical expenses (prior to the decedent’s death), property damage, loss of current and future income and cost of therapy and grief counseling.
Our Pennsylvania wrongful death lawyers understand how the loss of a loved one can be extremely devastating at so many levels. Our attorneys are ready to help you pursue justice and fair compensation so you can focus on grieving and healing. Call us to find out how we can help you.