The general rule is that mental suffering alone, caused by mere negligence, is non-compensable. While a majority of courts seem to hold that damages may be awarded when physical injuries result from mental anguish, even though no "impact" (contact) is involved, in most states the requirement of physical injury appears steadfast. One notable exception to this rule, however, can sometimes be found in the law relating to cadavers. Briefly stated, it holds that mental anguish suffered by the next of kin, resulting from interference with the body of the deceased, is sufficient basis for compensation, irrespective of contemporaneous physical injury. Our purpose then is to discuss interference with possession of a cadaver, delay in delivery, and the accompanying mental distress of the next of kin.
Lawrence S. Grean & Paul Hesse, Delay in Delivery of Cadaver to Next of Kin, 16 Clev.-Marshall L. Rev. 116 (1967)