Mar 08, 2023

Expansion of Damages In Wrongful Death Awaits NY Governor Hochul’s Approval

Historically, New York State has not permitted recovery for grief and sympathy for the family members that have lost someone due to any form of negligence. This may be changing.

The New York Senate and Assembly recently passed Bill S74A, also known as the Grieving Families Act, and it is hoped and expected that Governor Hochul will sign the bill into law. If passed, the law would significantly expand the damages available in wrongful death actions in a number of ways:

  • The statute of limitations to bring a wrongful death action would be extended from two years to three years and six months.
  • Emotional damages will be allowed if the party causing the death is found liable for causing that death.  The current law only allows recovery of economic damages, such as economic hardship caused by the income lost as a result of the death.  The current law does not permit recovery for damages of grief, sympathy, and loss of companionship or consortium, but this would change with passage of the new law.
  • Close family members will be permitted to recover damages suffered from the death of a family member that was caused by negligence.  Under the current law, only distributees of the estate (including parents, spouses and children) were permitted to recover.
  • The new law would take effect immediately and apply to pending actions already commenced. 

If these significant alterations to the wrongful death statute are signed into law as expected, we anticipate a significant increase in recoverable damages in wrongful death cases for all currently pending and future lawsuits. 

Trief & Olk represents individuals in a wide variety of personal injury accidents, including wrongful death actions.  If you have lost a loved one due to the negligence and another party, contact Trief & Olk by telephone or our website submission form to find out how Trief & Olk can help you.

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