It can be very difficult to cope when a person dies in unexpected circumstances. It can be even harder to have to think about necessary tasks like arranging and financing their funeral. Everybody deserves a proper funeral, but it can be particularly hard to know how to pay for this if the deceased was the main breadwinner in the family. However, it may be possible to sue for the funeral costs if the deceased died because of an accident or incident which was not entirely their fault. Claiming costs back from the parties who were liable for the death can help to relieve some of the financial burdens of paying for a funeral.
It is not unusual for a family to launch a compensation claim after their loved one has been killed in a fatal accident. Compensation claims are designed to cover families for any expenses that they have experienced as a result of an accident or incident which was not the fault of their loved one. These compensation claims normally cover a variety of different aspects, from cover for medical costs, through to compensation for loss of relationships. One of the aspects that it is normally possible to make a claim for is the cost of the funeral. The claimants should be able to argue that they would not have needed to cover these costs at that time if it had not been for the fatal accident or negligence.
Why should people be allowed to claim for funeral costs?
The average funeral in the United Kingdom is estimated to cost around £9,000. Even the simplest funeral and cremation packages can cost around £3000. It can be difficult for families to contemplate covering these costs when they have just lost a loved one. Paying for a funeral can leave families in debt if there is no money available from the estate of the deceased. It is only fair that families should be able to claim these costs back if they have had to hold a funeral for a loved one who was killed because of third party negligence.
Are funeral expenses always covered?
In the vast majority of case that reach court in the United Kingdom, the judge will be prepared to award funeral costs to the claimant. However, funeral costs are not always guaranteed in successful cases. There is precedent of a judge ruling in favour of the defendant in an otherwise successful claim, because the defendant’s actions did not bring the deceased’s death forward by a significant margin. Although some other costs were awarded, the judge did not award funeral costs to the claimant. A defendant may therefore be able to argue that funeral costs should not be awarded if the deceased was expected to die soon anyway. However, many lawyers do not believe that this ruling was fair and they will be prepared to produce strong cases to support the need for funeral costs to be awarded.
Do funeral cost claims always go to court?
The good news is that these types of claims do not always end up going to court. However, an independent investigation into the death may end up in a court room setting. The outcome of this investigation can be used as evidence in the claim.
When a claim is launched, the lawyer or solicitor will approach the defendant to alert them to the existence of a claim. In most cases, the claim will then be handled by the defendant’s insurance company. If the claim is very clear cut, the defendant’s insurance company will agree to pay the full value of the claim without delay. They may also try to negotiate a lower settlement based on the evidence that is available. The case should only go to court if both parties cannot agree on an acceptable settlement.
How to raise a claim which includes funeral costs
Funeral cost claims are normally launched as part of a wider claim, rather than being launched independently. If your loved one has been involved in a fatal accident or an incident that resulted in their death, you may be able to launch a larger claim for compensation. If it can be shown that the accident was not entirely their fault, then a claim can be made against the negligent party.
A lawyer or solicitor should be able to listen to the details of the incident and advise about whether a claim may be possible. They should also be able to give an estimated value of how much compensation for a death you might receive based on the details you provide. You can ask your lawyer or solicitor if their estimated claims value includes funeral costs. Most claims are launched after the funeral has taken place. Keep all of the paperwork from the funeral to provide evidence of how much the funeral cost in total.