If a physician causes harm, it is medical malpractice.
If a lawyer causes harm, it is legal malpractice.
When a funeral home causes harm, it is Mortuary Malpractice… and this happens more than you think.

Now, how could you claim “damages” to a person that is no longer alive? In two ways:
(1) Emotional Distress of experiencing a loved ones’ remains being mistreated.
(2) Damage to property – yes, it sounds crazy, but your loved one is considered property.

In Virginia, an Emotional Distress claim must be filed with 1 year of the incident. I read an article today of a family that learned their loved one was moved from their burial site. That might be a breach of contract case, or an emotional distress case. What about mistreatment of the body – exposure to bugs, critters. Another reported case reflects the family purchased the casket, and after the funeral, the company removed the body from the casket and re-used it, burying the loved one in a bag.

This happens sadly, more than you would think. Remember the Georgia Funeral home that was not cremating folks but placing their bodies in the back?

Like any other industry, it requires regulation and a close eye. Afterall, you wanted your loved one to have the very best while they were alive – and that doesn’t change!

About the author

Dan Frith

Dan Frith has over 25 years of experience representing individuals and families in cases of medical malpractice throughout Virginia. He has been named "Best Medical Malpractice Attorney" by Roanoker Magazine and is a member of the Million Dollar Advocates Forum. To speak with Dan, contact him by email at

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