N.Y. Legislature passes amended ‘wrongful death’ bill; awaits action from governor

June 17, 2024

The state Assembly and Senate passed the bipartisan A.9232-B and S.8485-B on June 4 and June 5, respectively—marking the third consecutive year the state Legislature has acted on bills to address the wrongful death issue.

Sponsored by Sen. Brad Hoylman-Sigal, D-47, and Assemblymember Helene Weinstein, D-41, the Grieving Families, also known as New York’s Wrongful Death bill, would amend the Estates, Powers, and Trusts Law to allow families of wrongful death victims to recover damages for emotional anguish, grief, loss of love or companionship, loss of services and support, and the loss of nurture and guidance. New York state’s current wrongful death law only allows for the recovery of economic losses, which means that families can seek compensation for lost wages and medical expenses but not for emotional suffering.

The bill now awaits Gov. Kathy Hochul’s signature.

What’s changed?

Amendments were made in response to previous criticisms from the governor’s office. This year, the most substantive revision would be a narrowing of the definition of family members who are eligible to receive compensation.

However, the bill does not incorporate other changes noted by the governor, such as limiting the scope of victims to deceased minors; and exempting hospitals and health care professionals from liability.

Concerns about increased insurance costs remain, with an estimated 40% increase in medical liability insurance costs, and the 2024 version of the Grieving Families Act did not address this issue.

For a deeper dive into the journey of the Grieving Families Act and its implications, check out our previous article in which we discuss the bill’s chronology, discuss the arguments for and against, and its impacts on the insurance industry.

Stay informed on how this bill evolved to its current form and the ongoing debates surrounding it.

Theophilus Alexander
PIA Northeast

Theophilus W. Alexander joined PIA Northeast as a government & industry affairs specialist for the Government & Industry Affairs Department in 2023. Prior to joining PIA, Theo had served in both houses of the New York State Legislature. Previously, he worked as a legislative analyst for Hon. New York State Sen. Samra G. Brouk, D-55, and he served at the New York State Assembly, as a policy analyst with New York Assembly Program & Counsel. Theo received his Bachelor of Arts degree in Politics from Ithaca College in Ithaca, N.Y.

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