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Funeral expenses can take a toll after a wrongful death

The sudden passing of a loved one is never easy to handle. But the matter may be even more challenging when the loved one was completely healthy at the time of passing, but was ripped from the family by a fatal car accident. Although the emotional loss can be overwhelming, so too can the financial toll that often accompanies such wrecks. Medical expenses and lost wages make up a significant portion of damages suffered in the wake of a fatal accident, but funeral costs can also weigh heavy on a surviving family's finances.

How expensive is a funeral? It depends on a lot of factors. Most funeral homes charge a basic service fee, which typically covers planning, permitting, death certificates and the housing of deceased's remains. Embalming, preparing the deceased for viewing, using the funeral home for the service and even using the hearse can all come at extra expense. But that's not all. Funeral homes might also charge for goods they purchase from vendors, such as flowers, obituaries and any musicians who may perform at the ceremony. A family often must buy a casket, too, which can cost thousands of dollars depending on the casket that is chosen.

Those who have lost a loved one need to be careful that they are not taken advantage of. There are helpful funeral pricing checklists, including one found at the Federal Trade Commission's website, which can assist with keeping costs as reasonable as possible.

Yet, regardless of how frugal a family is with this difficult task, the expense can still take a toll. If a loved one's death was caused by a negligent driver, a wrongful death lawsuit may be justified. If such a claim is successful, compensation may be awarded to help cover damages, including funeral expenses.

Source: Federal Trade Commission, "Funeral Costs and Pricing Checklist," accessed on May 20, 2016

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