What to do if a doctor has not signed my mother’s death certificate after 3 weeks and her creamation is being held up as a result?

UPDATED: Apr 29, 2011

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What to do if a doctor has not signed my mother’s death certificate after 3 weeks and her creamation is being held up as a result?

My mother passed away 3 weeks ago. We just found out the doctor has not signed the death certificate and she is still at the mortuary waiting to be cremated. I know this is some type of negligence, and would like to seek legal counsel as this is more than upsetting to us. We had her funeral 4 days after her death. The funeral home took the remains to be cremated. They told us he has 10 days to sign it. We are more than disturbed that her body is still at the mortuary. Should we consult a personal injury/medical malpractice attorney? In Hendricks County, IN.

Asked on April 29, 2011 under Malpractice Law, Indiana


S.L,. Member, California Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 11 years ago | Contributor

Sorry to hear about your mother.

You may have a claim for negligence and specifically negligent infliction of emotional distress against the doctor who has not signed your mother's death certificate.  Negligence is based on the failure to exercise due care (that degree of care in this case that a reasonable doctor in the same locality would have exercised under the same or similar circumstances) to prevent foreseeable harm.  If the ten day period for the doctor to sign the death certificate mentioned by the funeral home is the period required by law, violation of that statute establishes negligence.

It would be advisable to speak with a personal injury attorney.

IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Answer(s) provided above are for general information only. The attorney providing the answer was not serving as the attorney for the person submitting the question or in any attorney-client relationship with such person. Laws may vary from state to state, and sometimes change. Tiny variations in the facts, or a fact not set forth in a question, often can change a legal outcome or an attorney's conclusion. Although AttorneyPages.com has verified the attorney was admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction, he or she may not be authorized to practice law in the jurisdiction referred to in the question, nor is he or she necessarily experienced in the area of the law involved. Unlike the information in the Answer(s) above, upon which you should NOT rely, for personal advice you can rely upon we suggest you retain an attorney to represent you.

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