The NY State Senate and State Assembly Judiciary Committees has passed a bill coined the “Grieving Families Act” that would make it possible for family members to receive monetary compensation for the death of a loved one that was caused by the negligence of another. Until the passage of this new legislation, New York was one of a few states that did not allow for such compensation. The law in the Empire State allowed for family members to recover so-called pecuniary damages or what the deceased family member would have earned if he/she had not died.
Specifically, the bill provides for the types of damages that may be awarded to the persons for whose benefit an action for wrongful death is brought i.e. grief and anguish; loss of love, society, protection, comfort, companionship and consortium; reasonable funeral expenses; reasonable expenses for medical care, treatment etc. prior to death; pecuniary injuries due to loss of services, support, inheritance; and loss of nurture, guidance or education.
If this bill passes the Senate and the Assembly and is signed into law by the Governor, it will be a step in the right direction. It is an incalculable injustice that family members are not able to recover damages after losing a loved one due to someone else’s negligence. The bill would allow recovery for anguish, pain, and suffering which should be part of the compensation package when a loved one pass.
Our entire justice system is predicated on the principles of equity and fair play for all citizens. It is the appropriate place where grievances are aired and resolved. Families who’ve lost a loved one due to negligence should be able to make their case in a court of law. It is within the authority and power of the court to make decisions on individual cases. However, when citizens are prevented from access to justice, that isn’t equitable and leads to other more serious societal problems.
Senate Bill S, 4006 is a progressive measure that provides justice where there wasn’t any to begin with. It’s high time this bill becomes law. Read the legislation. I’ve provided a link above. If you live in New York, call your elected representatives and urge them to pass this important legislation.