coffin being carried

Many factors go into determining the value of a California wrongful death settlement. After the unexpected passing of a loved one, there are many financial expenses. Reasonable funeral costs are frequently included in settlements for wrongful death lawsuits. If you have questions about this, contact us at Salamati Law for a free consultation. Our firm has one goal: to help those who were harmed through no fault of their own.

Who can seek funeral expenses?

Financial compensation for the cost of a funeral or other arrangements is not available to everyone. Instead, only specific individuals have the right to seek compensation under a wrongful death lawsuit. The right to pursue legal action for funeral expenses differs across state lines. In California, certain surviving relatives have the right to file a wrongful death lawsuit that could include funeral costs. These family members include:

  • Surviving spouse or domestic partner
  • Surviving children, or
  • The grandchildren of any deceased children

Most of the time, family members fall into those categories. When that is not the case, funeral expenses could still be available. A wrongful death lawsuit can be brought by any person who would be entitled to recover from the deceased person’s estate through intestate succession laws. This usually includes other family members like parents or siblings.

What type of compensation could be available?

Even when wrongful death lawsuits are successful, the amount of compensation related to funeral expenses has limits. The court will not simply award funeral expenses requested by surviving relatives. Instead, a judge can only award a reasonable amount. Moreover, there is no simple way to determine the reasonableness of an award for funeral expenses. A judge will consider each request on a case-by-case basis. Determining reasonableness requires the judge to look at several factors.

The judge will consider the decedent’s station in life and the financial condition of the estate. In addition, it is important to note that a claim for funeral costs is not diminished when the surviving relatives have the resources to pay for it. In these cases, those relatives could be reimbursed for the funeral. Damages are even available when it is initially paid by an outside source like an insurance policy.

Talk to an attorney about recovering funeral expenses

The cost of a funeral is only one issue that must be addressed following the unexpected death of a loved one. A wrongful death lawyer could help you review the circumstances of your loved one’s passing and advise you on how best to proceed. The attorneys of Salamati Law are here to serve you during this difficult time. Call for a free consultation with us as soon as possible.