Making funeral arrangements is never easy, especially when it is unexpected. Survivors of wrongful death victims often face this situation and scramble for money at the last moment. According to the National Funeral Directors Association, average funeral costs are a little over $8,700, and this doesn’t cover related expenses like grave markers and cemetery costs.
Families may have to fork out around $10,000 to $12,000 on funeral costs alone. If the wrongful death victim is the family’s sole provider, this situation can be even more difficult for the survivors.
Do You Have To Pay For The Funeral Expenses?
You might have to pay the money out of your pocket at first because the funeral can’t wait until you win the lawsuit and you get financial compensation. However, you can recover the expenses down the line by filing the suit. If your case is successful, you can claim compensation for costs like:
- Basic funeral services
- Casket or urn
- Death certificate
- Funeral home fees
- Transport fees for the procession
- Flowers and printed materials
- Cremation casket and fee
- Embalming and preparation fees
You can claim all of these expenses and more from your wrongful death lawsuit. A legal professional will explain the process and calculate the compensation based on the situation and the victim’s connection to you and your family. The law varies from state to state, which is why it is essential to get a professional opinion from people who know how wrongful death claims work.
What Do You Have to Pay Out Of Pocket?
The law places some limits on what you can claim as a part of a wrongful death lawsuit. You can claim basic expenses, but not ones that aren’t ‘reasonable.’ Different states have different definitions of what’s considered reasonable, so it is a good idea to consult with your lawyer on that matter. Here’s a look at some of the expenses you will have to pay out of your pocket:
- The cost of flying relatives to the place where the service is to be held.
- An elaborate burial at a prime location.
- Elaborate wood caskets.
- A big memorial service.
Most states don’t define what they consider reasonable, but any expense that isn’t necessary to send the deceased off with honor could fall in this category. You won’t be able to claim these expenses as a part of your wrongful death lawsuit.
Additional Expenses You Can Claim
Wrongful death can have a significant impact on a family’s life and standard of living. For example, if you and your family were financially dependent on the deceased, you will need more monetary support. Here are some of the expenses you can claim:
- Medical and hospital bills
- Loss of income and financial support
- Loss of emotional support and companionship
- Mental anguish
- Lost prospect of inheritance
- Loss of parental guidance
A qualified lawyer will carefully examine the case and evidence before recommending an amount for compensation. They will collect evidence, prove the defendant is liable, and explain the expenses incurred by the plaintiff in detail. Experienced lawyers will negotiate on your behalf and help you get the best possible deal. They will also be willing to fight in court if needed.
It is important to hire lawyers who have experience with handling wrongful death cases. They know the latest laws and are familiar with the expenses involved. They also know how to build cases that have the highest chances of winning. If a close family member or loved one has died because of the negligence and recklessness of others, don’t hesitate to contact a lawyer immediately.