Handling human remains in a respectful way after death is important across cultures and history. Often the way a body is treated after death correlates to the value placed on human life in that culture. Protecting a loved one from mortuary negligence after death is critical in long term healing after loss.
From ancient times, there has been a conviction that bodies have the right to rest in peace, undisturbed and unmolested. Many religions as well as legal jurisdictions have set rules regarding the disposition and disposal of bodies.
The rights and obligations applicable to human remains is a topic of critical importance to a family facing a death yet is a topic that is often awkward and difficult to discuss.
The most important task for a family is carrying out the preference of the deceased loved one, especially when their wishes are well known. The next-of-kin often feel a large burden to fulfill the final wishes of a deceased family member.
Professionals who handle the bodies of loved ones have a duty to protect the bodies and dignity of the deceased that they serve. This is true whether the bodies are resting in a funeral home or mortuary, the city or county coroner morgue, or a morgue in a hospital or on a cruise ship. When this duty of care is breached by failing to exercise reasonable care in handling, preparing, or displaying the remains, there is a legal cause of action and next-of-kin are entitled to damages to compensate for emotional and financial damages.
Witnessing a deceased loved one’s body being mishandled is a traumatic experience for anyone. It can have long lasting impacts on the mental and emotional well being of the witnessing party. Feelings of distress, anxiety, PTSD are all possible and can be amplified depending on your relationship with the deceased party.
There are countless acts that can be considered mortuary abuse or neglect. Below is a partial list; if you feel that there was abuse, we strongly suggest you have your case evaluated.
Sexual assault of the deceased
Mismatching or incorrectly burying the wrong body at a funeral
Loss of body or remains
Loss of the body at the morgue or at the time of the funeral
Misconduct done in private by funeral home
Mishandling of remains
Removal of bodily remains – this is considered a felony in certain jurisdictions
Cremating the wrong body
Giving remains (ashes) to the wrong family
Co-mingling of ashes
Each of these cases requires careful evaluation of the facts. If you think that the body of a loved one has not been handled in an appropriate way, it is important to see expert legal advice to analyze your situation. These can be legal causes of action with financial damages awarded to try to compensate for the emotional and financial harm done to the family.
Attorneys Albro Lundy, Evan Koch and Stephen Semos at Baker, Burton & Lundy have helped families seek and find truth and peace in these situations. These cases are tragic; a second loss and trauma for families in addition to the loss of their loved one. Often a mystery is involved and there is the need to investigate and find out what really happened in a situation when a family discovers that their deceased loved one was not handled with the care and dignity that is appropriate. With sensitivity, our goal is to help our clients in this situation find truth and justice knowing their loved one can rest in peace.
WHY CHOOSE A PERSONAL INJURY ATTORNEY AT BAKER, BURTON & LUNDY
Partner Albro Lundy III has over 35 years of trial experience and particular experience in personal injury litigation, including multiple multi-million dollar victories. Along with his associates Evan Koch and Stephen Semos, our litigation team works closely with your family to develop a specific understanding of the full impact of your loss. Then, we present your unique, compelling loss to the negotiators or jurors who have the power to resolve your legal claims.
At Baker, Burton & Lundy, our attorneys have successfully resolved many challenging personal injury claims. You can expect our attorneys to be both caring and tenacious in our efforts to recover maximum compensation for your family.
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