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New York state lawmakers could overhaul wrongful death claims

On Behalf of | Dec 23, 2022 | Wrongful Death

In New York, like in many other jurisdictions across the United States, the law allows for wrongful death lawsuits. When those who lose a loved one believe that misconduct or negligence is responsible for their tragedy, they can file a lawsuit against either an individual or a business that they allege is responsible for their losses.

The rules for New York wrongful death claims have remained roughly the same since 1847, which means that many other states have more progressive or modern wrongful death laws. Now, New York state lawmakers have introduced The Grieving Families Act to help update the wrongful death statute.

In fact, the Act passed both Chambers and now waits for a signature from the governor of New York. If the Governor signs the Act, the rights of those who lose loved ones will change significantly.

What is The Grieving Families Act?

The legislation that state lawmakers passed as a response to failings in the existing law would make three significant changes to the existing wrongful death statute. The first is that it would nearly double the current statute of limitations on wrongful death claims.

Currently, New York has a two-year statute of limitations, but The Grieving Families Act would add another 18 months in which people could bring a claim. The Act also seeks to expand the definition of family to include romantic partners that were not the spouse of the person who died.

Finally, in what is perhaps the most significant change, lawmakers would allow wrongful death lawsuits to include the pain and suffering of grieving family members. Many other states allow those grieving the loss of a loved one to claim their pain and suffering in a wrongful death claim. Such claims can be particularly important if the person who died was too young or too old to work, as the primary source of damages in wrongful death lawsuits is often someone’s lost wages.

Should the governor sign The Grieving Families Act into law, those negatively affected by the negligence or bad behavior of people or businesses will soon have enhanced rights when pursuing a claim. Following major potential updates to state statutes can help those hoping to file a wrongful death lawsuit or similar personal injury claim.