According to the National Funeral Directors Association, the median cost of a funeral (viewing and burial) in the U.S. in 2014 was $7,181 (not including vault burial). The median cost of a U.S. funeral with cremation was slightly cheaper at $6,078 in 2014. Paying funeral costs is difficult enough without doing so after the tragic wrongful death of a loved one. To help alleviate the financial and emotional burden on survivors, PA and NJ statutes state that family members can recover reasonable funeral expenses in a wrongful death claim.
Reasonable Funeral Expenses
The statutes (Pennsylvania statute § 8301(c) and New Jersey Charge 8.43) do not detail what is “reasonable” in regards to funeral expenses. Some may argue that reasonable expenses would include airfare if the deceased wished for an out-of-state burial. Others may argue that reasonable would be the preparation of the body and final resting place, and would not include fancy caskets or receptions.
There are many costs associated with an average funeral, including but not limited to:
- Basic services fee
- Preparing the body for burial or cremation
- Casket or urn
- Burial plot, vault, or columbarium/mausoleum space
- Rental of funeral home for viewing
- Printed materials
- Reception venue and refreshments
- Vehicle rental for funeral procession
Seeking Funeral Expenses in a Wrongful Death Claim
We all want to go above and beyond when saying goodbye to our loved ones, but remember that if you go above the median cost for a funeral stated above, you may not be able to recover those costs in your wrongful death claim. For example, if you pay for half of your family to fly in for the funeral, it is not likely that the defendant will agree to cover that.
To recover reasonable funeral expenses, make sure to keep track of all your records and get help from a lawyer. Your lawyer can analyze your records and help you calculate a “reasonable” amount to request in your wrongful death claim.
How can I get help with my wrongful death claim?
A wrongful death lawyer can help ensure you are seeking the full range of damages to which you are entitled and can negotiate for a full and fair settlement. Contact Cordisco & Saile LLC at 215-791-8911 to schedule a FREE consultation regarding your case.