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Compensation for Funeral Expenses in a Wrongful Death Case

funeral expensesIn addition to the other types of damages recoverable in a wrongful death case, funeral and burial costs can be included as part of the damages package. These damages can be covered as long as they are reasonable and you can provide proof of payment.

But what is considered reasonable?

Washington state law does not define what exactly “reasonable” means, but it’s safe to assume that most people would find the average cost of a funeral and burial to be reasonable. According to, in 2018 the average North American traditional funeral costs between $7,000 and $10,000. 

The costs can be higher or lower, depending on the family’s customizations. 

Types of Funeral Expenses in a Wrongful Death Case

Unless the deceased has made prepaid funeral arrangements, funeral and burial expenses will initially need to be paid out-of-pocket. Those expenses can then be recouped as part of the wrongful death settlement. 

The following is a list of expenses that the deceased’s family will likely pay for in a traditional funeral: 

  • Basic services fee 
  • Pickup of body
  • Embalming and preparation of body
  • Casket
  • Vault or outer burial container
  • Visitation charge for staff and facilities
  • Funeral or memorial service charge 
  • Graveside service charge
  • Officiant fee
  • Cost of musicians performing at the service
  • Flowers
  • Programs
  • Hearse
  • Perpetual care fee
  • Grave marker, monument or tombstone
  • Obituary/death notices

Secure Your Legal Rights Today

In order to recover financially for funeral costs and other expenses, a victim’s family must prove the value of those costs. That makes it extremely important to save all relevant receipts and invoices and to share those documents with your wrongful death attorney as soon as possible. Your lawyer can let you know what costs may be part of your damage award, how to protect your legal rights, and how to get the recovery that you deserve.

For more information, please contact the wrongful death lawyers at Davis Law Group at any time by phone at (206) 727-4000. We would be pleased to discuss your entire wrongful death claim and potential recovery with you during a free and confidential case evaluation.

Chris Davis
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Chris Davis is the founder of Davis Law Group, P.S. in Seattle, WA.