Losing a loved one is heartbreaking, but many families unfortunately face this painful reality of trying to find a way to carry on without the love and companionship of their family member. This difficult situation becomes even more so when you realize you must pay thousands of dollars in funeral expenses. If you have lost a loved one due to the wrongful or negligent acts of another, you may be eligible to recover funeral expenses in a wrongful death claim.
Talk to an attorney from the Montero Law Center at 954-767-6500 for compassionate legal advice.
When can survivors recover reasonable funeral costs?
Under Florida Statute §768.21, if a person dies due to the wrongful act or negligence of another, the personal representative of the decedent may recover funeral expenses on behalf of the estate provided that the amounts were a charge against the estate and not otherwise due to a survivor.
The personal representative can include reasonable funeral costs in a wrongful death claim if:
- The estate paid for the funeral, or
- A family member paid for the funeral out-of-pocket
What costs can families recover?
According to the National Funeral Directors Association, the median average cost of an adult funeral with viewing and burial in the U.S was over $7,000.00 in 2014. A cremation was only slightly less at over $6,000.
These costs include:
- Funeral services and planning
- Transportation of the body
- Facility use for services
- Printed materials
- A hearse and service car for the family
- Printed program materials, and
- A metal casket or cremation services
While the statute is silent as to any particular limit on these costs, it is likely that insurers will not see extravagant or lavish funeral arrangements as “reasonable” and may deny the personal representative’s claim. It is understandable that you would want to give your loved one a proper send off, but make sure you know that you may not receive compensation for anything above what is “reasonable.”
How does one recover funeral costs?
First of all, keep in mind you can only recover what you can prove you paid for. So any paper receipts, records, photographs, or other evidence of what it was that you purchased and how much you paid will be extremely relevant in pursuing your recovery.
Families facing a wrongful death situation are already dealing with a loss no one should have to bear. Trying to manage the recovery of costs in the shadow of sorrow is not your burden alone.