A recent attempt to overhaul New York wrongful death laws failed when Governor Kathy Hochul refused to sign the bill.
NY State Senate Bill S74A, known as the Grieving Families Act, would have allowed bereaved loved ones to seek emotional loss damages in wrongful death cases. It also would have extended the statute of limitations for wrongful death suits.
Hochul said the bill would have raised insurance premiums.
Versions of this wrongful death bill have been under debate for nearly a decade.
New York’s wrongful death laws have been in effect since 1847. It’s easy to see how this law might be outdated and fail to reflect the current realities and values of New Yorkers in 2023.
Currently, state wrongful death laws allow loved ones to obtain economic damages for the death of a loved one. Settlements for the death of a child or a non-working spouse are typically meager, as economic damages are calculated primarily by looking at the income of the deceased.
A wrongful death claimant can sue for medical expenses, funeral expenses, and loss of income. They may sue for the pain and suffering of the deceased victim but not for the pain and suffering of the family who has to carry on after the loss of a child, elderly parent, or non-working spouse.
In a personal injury case, an injured victim can obtain both economic and non-economic damages. That is, they can receive compensation for their pain and suffering.
Of course, no amount of money can bring back a lost family member. But for many families, seeking non-economic damages is as much about holding negligent organizations accountable as receiving a payout. Often, having to pay out a large lawsuit is the only thing that can entice a business into changing its ways.
Often, when a company’s behavior kills a child in New York, there are no significant consequences for that company’s behavior.
The Grieving Families Act was extremely popular. It is uncertain whether a new version of the bill might emerge moving forward.
The insurance industry will do just about anything to devalue any wrongful death claim, whether it’s putting political pressure on a public official or fighting tooth and nail to destroy your wrongful death suit.
Protect yourself by reaching out to Ayre, Lustig, and Sassower today. While we can’t help the law, we can help you recover as much money as possible in your wrongful death lawsuit.
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