What the Grieving Families Act Means for Everyone

Black and white image of a man looking out of a window.

No one wants to think about the death of a loved one, but when it happens, there are often questions about what can be done. If you've lost someone due to the negligence or recklessness of another person, you may be considering filing a wrongful death claim to receive compensation for your losses.

Unfortunately, the current wrongful death statute in New York has not been updated since 1847. As of right now, families currently do not have the right to seek compensation for emotional damages; however, the Grieving Families Act can change that.

What is the Grieving Families Act?

Senate Bill S74A, also known as the Grieving Families Act, aims to allow families to seek emotional damages in a wrongful death claim alongside:

  • Funeral expenses;
  • Medical expenses;
  • Loss of love, protection, or companionship resulting from the death;
  • Loss of wages or diminishment of inheritance;
  • Loss of guidance, counsel, or training.

The bill also aims to expand the definition of “close family members.” Domestic partners, grandparents, and even step-parents have a chance to seek justice for their loved ones only if the court rules that the person's relationship with the decedent is valid. The bill would also expand the statute of limitations for wrongful death claims from two to three and a half years.

Pros and Cons of The Bill

There is no doubt that the bill will bring many families peace of mind knowing they have a chance to seek the compensation they deserve. It will also positively impact lower-income families as the damages recovered will not be based on earning capacity.

But sadly, many municipal groups see this bill as a disadvantage as it would expand their liability to those victims in a wrongful death lawsuit. Many believe the law will raise the cost of insurance premiums, which can impact consumers, businesses, and taxpayers.

While many oppose the bill, it has already passed the Senate and Assembly and is now on its way to the Governor’s desk. The bill is not expected to be signed into law until after the midterm elections.

While the bill is still in the process of being put into action, our team at Salenger, Sack, Kimmel & Bavaro, LLP can answer any question you have regarding it or a wrongful death claim. Please do not hesitate to contact our firm today — we are willing to do everything in our power to help you and your family find peace and security during this difficult time.

Call us at (800) 572-7246 or fill out a consultation request form to get in touch with a member of our team.