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What funeral expenses are covered in a wrongful death claim?

Losing someone in a needless accident is tremendously painful and tragic -- and the tragedy can be compounded by devastating financial consequences, including funeral costs.

That's why it's possible to recover funeral costs in a wrongful death claim. Here are some things you should know.

What funeral expenses can be recovered?

A wrongful death claim allows you to recover "reasonable" costs associated with your loved one's funeral and burial. This can include things like:

  • The cost of the announcement in the local paper's obituary column
  • The cost of the death certificates needed to verify your loved one's death with banks, insurance companies and other institutions
  • The cost of transporting your loved one's body to the funeral home and cemetery
  • The cost of cremation, if that's what you choose
  • The cost of an urn or casket
  • The fees for the use of the funeral home for services
  • The ministerial fees for your minister's services at the funeral
  • The cost of a small headstone or memorial marker

All of these things are typical expenses for the average funeral, so none of them should be considered particularly unreasonable.

What type of funeral expenses aren't covered?

The key is to remember that expenses have to be considered reasonable. Anything that you would not ordinarily pay for yourself is probably unreasonable to the court. Some things may be considered unreasonable even if you would likely pay for them yourself.

For example, the average cost of a funeral in the United States is around $7,181. This does not include, however, a catered lunch after the memorial service. While that's customary in some areas, you may not be able to recover for that kind of expense if the court doesn't consider it reasonable.

Similarly, a modest headstone is generally an expected expense -- but an elaborate, expensive marker for the grave is not.

If your loved one died due to someone else's negligence, a wrongful death claim can help you recover. Take the necessary steps to protect your rights today.

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