How the Grieving Families Act Will Impact Wrongful Death Claims

Lever & Ecker, PLLC March 15, 2022 Personal injury

New York’s death rate has seen a considerable rise in the past couple of years due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Many New Yorkers have felt not only the physical and financial burdens of losing a loved one but also the emotional and mental pain of their unexpected loss. A significant problem in New York is that the current wrongful death law fails to properly compensate families for the loss of loved ones through the negligent or otherwise wrongful conduct of another person.

For decades, families have only been able to obtain compensation for the physical and financial losses that come from a wrongful death claim. The current law, in place for well over one hundred years, fails to account for the emotional and mental anguish that loved ones experience when grieving the death of their family member or close friend. The New York Legislature is considering changes to the law, to allow emotional damages to be recoverable in wrongful death claims. Known as the “Grieving Families Act,” this bill is essential for the rights of those who struggle to recover after losing their loved ones. The bill, if passed, would recognize emotional grief and struggle as damages that can be awarded in a wrongful death claim. 

What Is the Grieving Families Act?

The Grieving Families Act bill, called Senate Bill S4006, would allow courts to consider grief and emotional loss as compensatory damages that family members can recover if a loved one is lost due to another individual’s negligence. For many decades, New York’s outdated law has only considered and awarded compensation for economic loss. This means that the law does not consider the loss of companionship, guidance, and love as damages in wrongful death claims. 

New York falls behind forty-one states which have amended and currently include emotional loss in their wrongful death laws.

What Types of Damages Would Qualify for Compensation Under the Grieving Families Act? 

New York law needs to recognize the pain families experience when losing their loved ones. Grief and emotional loss should not be deemed as lesser than physical or financial loss when some of the most painful experiences anyone can suffer is losing their loved one. The bill hopes to establish six categories of damages for which an individual can receive compensation in wrongful death claims, including: 

  • Loss of love
  • Loss of protection and society
  • Loss of assistance and support
  • Loss of reduction of inheritance
  • Loss of services
  • Loss of guidance, advice, counsel, nurture, training, and education

Another vital component of the bill is that it would expand the circle of those who can qualify to recover compensation for someone’s wrongful death, including a domestic partner, spouse, parents, grandparents, stepparents, siblings, and surviving close family members.

Contact Compassionate New York Wrongful Death Lawyers at Lever & Ecker, PLLC 

Losing someone you love because of someone else’s negligence is an overwhelming and unspeakable experience. Grief and loss are challenging to overcome, and the Grieving Families Act hopes to give families the right to receive compensation for the pain they suffer after the death of a loved one. Our Lever & Ecker, PLLC lawyers have 60+ years of combined experience protecting our clients and their rights to compensation for the loss of their loved ones. 

We will represent you in legal proceedings and handle the process of filing a wrongful death claim, so you can focus on recovering and mourning your loved one. Our goal is to provide you with the top-notch legal representation you can rely on and trust. In order to give all our clients the ability to communicate their wishes and concerns comfortably, we offer our services in English and Spanish. 

Schedule a free consultation with one of our lawyers by calling (914) 288-9191 or (718) 933-3632 and filling out our contact form.