NY Governor Vetoes Grieving Families Act
Governor Hochul has vetoed the Grieving Families Act bill, just before the January 31, 2023 deadline. If passed, the bill would have expanded the category of persons allowed to recover under wrongful death claims and would have allowed surviving close family members to seek damages for emotional grief or anguish, loss of love, society, protection, comfort, companionship, and consortium, and loss of nurture, guidance, counsel, advice, training, and education- drastically widening damages from economic damages, as they are limited to now.
Supporters of the bill claimed the change would bring the state in line with other states’ damages statutes. Many have criticized New York’s current wrongful death statute as restrictive and archaic, dating back to 1847, as preventing families from suing for damages from their pain and suffering caused by a wrongful death.
However, the bill would have increased the wrongful death statute and likely resulted in a boost of insurance rates and viable claims, burdening New York’s small businesses and overall economy. In an opinion piece in the Daily News, Governor Hochul remarked that the bill was missing a “a serious evaluation of the impact of these massive changes on the economy, small businesses, individuals and the state’s complex health care system.” An actuarial report by Milliman estimated that an overall $2.09 billion or 12.6% increase to annual loss and loss adjustment expenses in New York would have resulted, had the bill passed. Milliman also estimated the law would have resulted in premium hikes of about 39.5% due to a $600 million annual increase in claim costs.
Thanks to Dominika Rybaltowski for her contribution to this post. Please contact Heather Aquino with any questions.