Grieving Families Act Senate Bill S74A
New York Law continually adjusts for our state’s citizens frequently; these laws are intended to provide fair and just legislation within a variety of circumstances. As laws change every day; laws expand, and laws shrink, our responsibility is always in the best interest of our clients.
Currently, one of New York’s laws regarding wrongful death lawsuits is awaiting the governor’s signature to be amended. The changes discussed are favorable for wrongful death lawsuit plaintiffs. If the Grieving Families Act is signed into law, the class of plaintiffs who can bring claims will be expanded as well as the categories for damages.
THE GRIEVING FAMILIES ACT
The “Grieving Families Act” (“GFA”) is set to significantly expand compensable damages in wrongful death actions. Currently, compensable damages in these types of actions are limited to pecuniary loss only, such as pre-death medical expenses, funeral expenses, and loss of financial support.
The GFA modernizes the current wrongful death statute in New York, which has been in place since 1847. The bill acknowledges that the damages caused by losing a loved one are not limited to the financial support received from their paycheck, but also involve the losses that take an emotional and psychological toll on those left behind.
If signed into law, the GFA would permit:
- recovery of damages for emotional loss when a tortfeasor is found liable for causing a death
- recovery by close family members including, but not limited to, spouse or domestic partner, children, parents, grandparents, stepparents, and siblings. “The finder of fact shall determine which are close family members based upon specific circumstances relating to the person’s relationship with the decedent”
- Replacement of distributes with persons for whose benefit the action is brought
- Taking immediate effect and will also retroactively apply to pending cases
SIX CATEGORIES A PLAINTIFF MAY CLAIM COMPENSATION FOR:
- Funeral expenses
- Reasonable medical expenses
- Grief or anguish caused by the death and for any disorder caused by grief or anguish
- Loss of love, society, protection, comfort, companionship, and consortium resulting from the death
- Monetary injuries including loss of services, support, assistance, and diminishment of inheritance; and
- Loss of nurture, guidance, counsel, advice, training, and education
Proponents of the GFA advocate that this new law will expand the compensable damages categories, as well as expand the number of deserving individuals who can make claims to recover for the wrongful deaths of their loved ones. Opponents argue that this law will drive up the cost of insurance premiums and negatively impact consumers, businesses, and ultimately taxpayers as well as encouraging inflated damage awards to a new class of plaintiffs.
We at Daniella Levi & Associates, PC are strong advocates for the signing of this bill into Law.
About Daniella Levi & Associates P.C.
After a serious accident, many people are in desperate need of the financial support that comes from a successful result of their personal injury claim. To ensure that you have the best chance at obtaining the compensation you deserve, your lawyer should be just as invested in your case as you are.
At Daniella Levi & Associates, P.C., headquartered in New York City, we believe strongly in upholding the rights of accident victims. We are dedicated advocates for our clients, fighting, and using every available resource, to obtain the compensation they deserve.