The Grieving Families Act Bill, Explained

It’s hard to believe that New York and Alabama are the only two states in the country that prevent families of loved ones who die in accidents for recovering for the emotional grief and loss of their family members. With the Grieving Families Act awaiting a signature from Governor Kathy Hochul, that may change in New York very soon. 

With this bill on the Governor’s desk, she has the opportunity to fix this unfair situation and we are hopeful that she will sign it before the end of the year. Keep reading to learn what the current laws are and what this new law would mean for families in New York.

New York State’s current Wrongful Death laws

Today in New York, the family of a loved one killed in an accident can only recover for the conscious pain and suffering that their loved one endured before their death, and it must be proven. They can also recover for the economic loss to the family, but in the case of a child, elderly parent or unemployed adult, there would be no recovery for economic loss, and under New York’s current Wrongful Death laws, the family would receive no recovery for the emotional loss and grief of the loss of their loved one. 

The current wrongful death statute in New York has been in place since 1847 and it’s time for a change and for our state to catch up to the rest of the nation.

The Grieving Families Act

The Grieving Families Act would help to fix this unfair situation by permitting loved ones to also sue for emotional loss, including grief, anguish and loss of companionship. These amendments to New York’s wrongful death laws would be significant for families across the state, as they would be allowed to recover compensation for emotional anguish in addition to recovering the financial losses in the wrongful death of a loved one. This piece of legislation is designed to give families a little solace when they experience the unimaginable.

What happens next

The Grieving Families Act bill has passed the Senate and Assembly which means that the next and final step would be for the Governor to sign the bill. While she refused to sign a similar bill last year, it is critical for New York to have a fair law like the rest of our country, and we are all hopeful she will do the right thing. 

The Grieving Families Act truly shows the amount of power the insurance industry has, even here in the state of New York. I will continue to monitor this closely and will provide an update once one is available. If you have any questions about the current wrongful death law in New York State or the Grieving Families Act, give me a call at 631-495-9435, and I would be happy to answer any of your questions.