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Families Urge New York State To Pass The Grieving Families Act

Grieving Families Call On New York Governor To Recognize Wrongful Death Lawsuits Based On Emotional Loss

Families Urge New York State To Pass The Grieving Families Act

NEW YORK, NEW YORK (June 5, 2022) – Families across New York are calling on the state legislature to pass the Grieving Families Act which allows wrongful death claims based on emotional loss.

The wrongful death statute in New York puts no monetary value on the life of children, seniors and other people who may not earn that much money. New York is particularly unique in this regard.

Forty-eight other states recognize wrongful death claims based on emotional loss. Under New York law, families are only compensated for the loss of a breadwinner.

One of the people calling for the Grieving Families Act to be passed is Bobbi Koval. She lost her son Jack in a New York City car accident and quickly learned that she could not seek civil penalties because he was not supporting anyone. However, the pain from that loss has remained with her.

She told Rochester First, “Putting a dollar amount on life is not possible. But advocating that there should be change in this law to allow people to have some compensation for this anguish is important.”

Proponents of the law have argued that the current law devalues the life of children, seniors and those without a substantial income. The New York Insurance Association has released a statement opposing the Grieving Families Act.

They claim that it will substantially increase the cost of the civil justice system and burden taxpayers.

Understanding The New York Grieving Families Act

New York Senate Bill S74A, also known as the Grieving Families Act, would alter New York’s current wrongful death law to expand who can pursue civil claims. Under the current law laid out in (New York’s Estates Powers and Trusts Law Sections 5-4.1 through 5-4.6), compensable damages in wrongful death cases are limited to pecuniary loss only, such as medical expenses, funeral costs and lost earnings. But the current law unfairly leaves out a number of people.

  • The current law unfairly precludes the extraordinary emotional distress that people feel when they have lost someone close to them.
  • The current law does not justly compensate families for the loss of someone unemployed when they died.
  • The current law does not justly compensate for the extraordinary work of stay at home parents who do not earn an income.
  • The current law does not justly compensate for children and other people who were not providing financial assistance when they died.

The Grieving Families Act would permit recovery by “close family members.” This would include spouses, domestic partners, parents, grandparents, stepparents as well as siblings. If the propose legislation were to pass, it would have a large impact for potential damages in wrongful death cases. It would also dramatically increase the number of plaintiffs who would have recourse under the law. New York would join the other 49 states that allow plaintiffs to recover for emotional duress. New York’s current wrongful death statute passed in 1847 is ill-equipped to help plaintiffs with regard to non-economic loss.

Hiring An Experienced Wrongful Death Lawyer

Every single life has worth, regardless of how much a person may earn. Passage of the Grieving Families Act would go a long way towards recognizing the value of every New Yorker. The Grieving Families Act recognizes the current shortcomings of New York’s wrongful death statute. It also addresses the extraordinary emotional trauma that family members have to deal with following the loss of a loved one.

Do you need help after the loss of a love one in New York? Our team of wrongful death attorneys at Gersowitz Libo & Korek, P.C. are here for you. We care deeply that accident victims are aware of their rights and that those rights are being protected. Whether you just have legal questions or need a free, confidential consultation about your case, we are here for you. You can reach out to us anytime at (516) 908-9792.


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Jeff Korek

Jeff S. Korek

Senior Trial Partner​

Jeff S. Korek joined Gersowitz Libo & Korek, P.C. in 1992 as the Senior Trial partner. Known for his meticulous preparation and dedication to his clients, Jeff has obtained some of the state’s highest verdicts and settlements.