Compensation for Funeral Expenses

The loss of a loved one is emotionally devastating. It can also severely compromise a family’s finances. At Dolan Dobrinsky Rosenblum Bluestein, LLP we have seen up-close how men and women worry about their financial futures after a tragic accident claims the life of a loved one.

Fortunately, Florida law allows certain family members to receive compensation when a loved one dies due to the negligence or other wrongful conduct of a person. For example, many clients can receive compensation for the cost of funeral and burial services, which are often considerable. For more information about your legal rights, speak to a Miami wrongful death attorney today.

Who Can Claim Reimbursement for Funeral Expenses?

In a wrongful death case, the family can seek compensation for funeral and burial services if:

  • The estate paid for the funeral and burial
  • A family member paid these expenses out-of-pocket

Of course, a wrongful death claim can only be brought when the death is “wrongful.” Under Fla. Stat. § 768.19, a death is wrongful when it is caused by breach of contract, breach of warranty, default, negligence, or wrongful act.

What Costs Are Included?

The average funeral in the United States can cost well over $9,000—and the price only seems to be increasing. Some people buy insurance policies precisely to cover the costs of their burial. But when there is no policy, then someone needs to come up with the money, either a family member or the estate.

Funeral costs can include:

  • Embalming
  • Transportation of the body
  • Cremation
  • Use of facilities for a funeral
  • Staffing for the funeral
  • Printed materials
  • Advertisement for the funeral

Family members or the estate’s personal representative should hold onto documentation of all costs, such as receipts and service contracts.

What Are Reasonable Expenses?

The law only allows for compensation for “reasonable” expenses. Unfortunately, the law does not define what is reasonable or give a maximum amount.

We encourage clients to use their best judgment when planning a funeral. Your loved one might have made arrangements ahead of death; however, if you are planning the funeral, avoid anything too costly. This does not mean you need the bare minimum but ask the funeral direction what most people buy.

How Do You Recover Funeral Expenses?

Your attorney should include a request for damages in your wrongful death claim. This is why you will need proper documentation, such as receipts, for all expenses. Show them to your lawyer to give him a sense of how much you spent.

This is a difficult time for all involved, and our Miami wrongful death lawyers are here for you. Please call us today at 305-371-2692 to schedule a free consultation.