Who Is Responsible for the Body of an Unattended Death?
It’s required that an unattended death is reported to the local police for that jurisdiction, however, it falls onto the family’s shoulders to take care of clean-up once the medical examiners and police leave the scene.
Depending on the state, families of victims may be eligible for financial aid to cover the costs of clean-up. If the state doesn’t help, then families can look to the federal fund.
“The New York State Crime Victims Board will pay up to $2,500 for cleaning up after a homicide, and many car insurance policies cover the price of restoring the interior of vehicles”
There is good news, however: if the property is insured, either through the landlord’s homeowners insurance, or through renter’s insurance, you can be reimbursed for the costs once the insurance processes and approves the claim.
If the death happened outside the property, on the other hand, families are better off seeking help from a cleanup fund. Some cleanup companies may also have financial aid resources available, or be willing to work on payment terms for the services. It’s best to call a company in the area so they can help you plan and understand your options for the cost of services.
How Death Cleanup Services Work
Once the body has been cleared by the local authorities, the cleanup team arrives at the scene to start services. Because an unattended death can have widespread biohazard effects on the property, it’s critical that the scene is well roped-off to prevent people from entering and spreading the biohazard further.
Every team member on the cleanup crew has sufficient training and certification for emergency biohazard clean-up services and enters wearing PPE designed for bioremediation.
The team first identifies materials that need to be removed or disposed of, such as carpeting, soaked-through floorboards, or other materials that cannot be cleaned and disinfected thoroughly.
Once these are removed, the team can begin a cursory cleaning, ensuring all surfaces are thoroughly cleaned. A second or third pass is then completed to completely disinfect the area, using specialized bioremediation technology to scan the room and ensure all ATP levels are reading zero.
Depending on the situation, some companies may be able to perform a superheating of the apartment or an ozone treatment, disinfecting all surfaces. The benefit of this is that paintings, vases, or other objects that may be difficult to disinfect can be sanitized for distribution among the family.
- NY Times, Cleaning Needed, in the Worst Way, https://www.nytimes.com/2005/11/22/nyregion/cleaning-needed-in-the-worst-way.html
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