Know your legal rights in cases against coroners’ offices, funeral homes and mortuaries for mishandling a loved one’s body.
The death of a loved one is a difficult, emotionally turbulent time. During that time, you should be able to expect coroner’s offices, funeral homes, mortuaries and any other entity that handles your loved one’s body to treat it with respect so you can move on with a funeral and the grieving process that follows. But if any of these entities make mistakes in their care of the body, you have a right to take legal action against them.
How we help our clients exercise their rights in these cases
The emotional trauma that can occur in these types of situations cannot be understated. People who have lost loved ones are already in fragile emotional states—having to find out that the coroner’s office or funeral home somehow mishandled or mistreated the body can be devastating.
As your attorney, we work on your behalf to collect evidence and prove negligence on the part of the defendant in your claim. In such cases, you can seek relief in the form of:
- General damages, such as pain and suffering and emotional trauma
- Specific damages in which there were more concrete losses
- Any other damages appropriate in the case, including punitive damages for grossly negligent conduct
Diaz vs. County of Los Angeles
In an example of such a case, we recently represented the plaintiff in the case of Yvette Diaz vs. The County of Los Angeles.
Ms. Diaz gave birth to a healthy baby girl on May 27, 2016. On May 28, 2016, her baby girl died unexpectedly in her mother’s arms. In the case, the Los Angeles County Coroner’s Office took control of her child’s body on that day, and that she was forced to face questioning from the police regarding the circumstances of her daughter’s death while still in shock and feeling “emotionally devastated” while at the hospital. The questioning, combined with the unexpected death of her child, lead to unbearable pain and suffering for Ms. Diaz.
In addition, Ms. Diaz attempted multiple times over the course of weeks to get in touch with the Coroner’s Office about the cause of death, during which she became even more emotionally distraught. Because the Coroner’s Office still had the body, she was unable to have a proper burial and funeral. On August 24, the Coroner’s Office finally sent Ms. Diaz a letter saying they had cremated her daughter’s body on August 10, and that she could pick up her daughter’s remains.
Ms. Diaz had planned to bury her daughter in accordance with the practices of her Catholic faith, and became deeply depressed. She had to seek the assistance of a psychiatrist to help her cope with her mental trauma.
We represented Ms. Diaz in this case, and the jury awarded her $605,000 in damages.
Schedule your free case evaluation to learn more about your legal options
If you have had to cope with the mishandling of a loved one’s body by a coroner’s office, mortuary or funeral home, you have the right to take legal action against the responsible party. Call Chris Montes de Oca today to schedule a free case analysis: (562) 901-4664.
The insurance company offered Mary only $30,000 for the brain injury she suffered during a car accident. We fought for Mary and recovered over $12 million. Watch this video to hear Mary’s story – told by her incredible parents.
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