Fatal Accidents: Who Is Responsible for the Burial Expenses?

Fatal accidents always leave grief in their wake. More often than not, these events also bring financial hardship. Even as families mourn their losses and deal with their shock, they find themselves facing the time-sensitive planning and costly responsibility of making burial arrangements.

Understanding who is liable for covering burial expenses can help grieving families hold the end-of-life celebrations that they want for their loved ones without facing undue hardship.

Automobile Accidents and Wrongful Death

In many auto accidents, drivers share responsibility for both the events themselves and the resulting damages. When a driver is deemed to be fully responsible for a car crash due to negligence, the victim can contact a lawyer to file a personal injury claim.

According to car accident lawyer George Sink, when a loved one is killed in a vehicle accident, you may also be able to file a survival action. This will allow you to recover damages that you personally incurred due to the death of your loved one.

Personal injury claims provide living victims with compensation for their injuries, their medical bills, lost wages, property damages, and pain and suffering. However, when the victim of a negligent driver loses their life as the result of a car accident, the victim’s surviving family members can file a wrongful death lawsuit.

Some of the negligent actions that a driver might take to justify a wrongful death lawsuit include:

  • Driving with insufficient experience
  • Knowingly operating a damaged or malfunctioning vehicle
  • Driving over the posted speed limit
  • Driving while under the influence
  • Tailgating
  • Running a red light or failing to stop at a stop sign

In these and other instances, filing a wrongful death lawsuit can help family members recoup the costs of their loved one’s funeral. Wrongful death suits can also provide compensation for pain and suffering, the deceased party’s final medical bills, and even for loss of income for the individual’s spouse and minor children among other things.

Funeral Expenses

When families want to hold traditional funerals for their loved ones that include burial, burial preparations, viewing ceremonies or wakes, and other elements, the charges can add up quickly. Among some of the costs that people commonly face when preparing for the burial of a loved one are:

  • The cost of a casket or cremation urn
  • Physical preparation of the body including embalming services
  • Cremation services
  • Payment to the funeral service
  • Hearse rental
  • The cost of a headstone
  • Burial plot fees

The costs of planning a funeral can quickly amount to thousands of dollars. For families that are not prepared for these costs, covering them on short notice can result in significant debt.

Immediate Coverage From Insurance Companies

There are some instances in which wrongful death victims have existing coverage that will assist with some or all of their burial costs. Programs like personal injury protection (PIP) will cover funeral expenses in part along with lost wages and any final medical bills.

Coverage can also be obtained via accidental death insurance with payments being made to the families of victims. However, the existence of these coverage types is not guaranteed, and the level of protection supplied can vary from one insurance company and policy to another.

Whenever a person’s death has been caused by a driver’s negligence, seeking recompense is the best bet. This ensures that family members do not find themselves facing the extraordinary costs of burial on their own, and that compensation is obtained for taking care of any final medical bills or other expenses that the deceased had incurred as the result of the accident.

Taking legal action can give families both peace of mind and the ability to give their loved ones the end-of-life celebrations they deserve.



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