How the Grieving Families Act Long-Overdue Justice Remains Elusive By Michael Joseph on October 22, 2023

How the Grieving Families Act Can Deliver Long-Overdue Justice and Equity to New York's Courtrooms, but will the Governor sign the bill or continue to do the insurance company's bidding? The Grieving Families Act is a piece of legislation that could bring much-needed justice and equity to New York's courtrooms. It is an act designed to help families who lost a loved one due to a drunk driving accident. This act has been in the works for several years and has gained approvals from various agencies and lawmakers. With the end-of-year deadline getting closer, the calls for the Governor to sign the bill into law are becoming louder and more frequent. This blog will explore the potential benefits of the Grieving Families Act and how it can help bring solace to the families of those who lost their lives due to drunk drivers, victims of construction fatalities and other accidents resulting in wrongful death. The Act will provide compensation to the affected families, for the loss of their relationship with the decedent, including for their own grief an suffering. Under New York's antiquated wrongful death law, the survivor of someone killed in a tragic accident, such as an accident caused by a drunk driver, a construction fatality caused by unsafe worksite conditions or a family member of someone killed by medical malpractice can only sue for the financial loss or the decedent's pre-death pain and suffering. Our New York City wrongful death lawyers know that this law is expecially unfair to families who have lost a family member that was not providing financial support, such as a single person, a child or the elderly.  This law basically tells family that the lives of their loved ones who did not provide financial support are basically worthless, and ignores the real emotional trauma and loss that the decedent's family suffered.  

New York's Governor, has so far given in to the insurance companies and vetoed the bill last year, and this year, appears to be content to allow the bill to die on the vine, as she stalls signing it, despite the Act being passed with widespread support of both New York's Assembly and House. The Grieving Families Act has gained wide support from various lawmakers and agencies, including Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD). MADD urges the Governor to be a leader in keeping New York drivers and passengers safe, and that begins with signing the Grieving Families Act. Fatal car accidents are among the most tragic and devastating incidents that occur in our communities. The sudden and unexpected loss of a loved one can leave a lasting emotional and psychological impact. According to the latest statistics, deaths from drunk driving have spiked in recent years, with devastating consequences for families and communities across the state. MADD has reported that around 4,000 people died due to drunk driving in New York between 2009 and 2018.  In 2019, there were 304 fatalities caused by crashes involving alcohol, up from 272 in 2018. This represents a 12% increase and the highest number of drunk driving deaths since 2012. Moreover, alcohol-related crashes accounted for 27% of all traffic fatalities in the state in 2019. Not only are drunk driving accidents on the rise, fatal accidents involving cars are alarming. New York City has seen a rise in the number of pedestrian accident deaths caused by cars, in which pedestrians were struck by cars. In 2019, there were a total of 219 reported pedestrian fatalities in New York City. In 2022 alone, there were 284 pedestrian fatalities in NYC, with the majority of them being caused by cars. This is an increase from the previous year and is also higher than the national average.

This law which would allow higher damages in wrongful death cases, sits looming while a string of fatal accidents have occurred in recent months.  For exampley, in Northern Westchester, there was a recent fatal accident involving a 58-year-old pedestrian who was fatally struck by a vehicle on October 18, 2023, just before 7:00 a.m., in Yorktown,  in the area of Old Yorktown Road and Strang Boulevard. In another incident in late September, there was one fatality and numerous injuries when a bus transporting a high school band from Long Island to a marching band camp in Pennsylvania, went off the road and crashed on a New York highway.  On October 22, 2023, an ambulance crash in Midtown Manhattan at 10th Avenue and 42nd Street which occurred while taking a sick person to the hospital for treatment, resulted in the death of the patient. Also on October 22, 2023, a pedestrian was fatally struck in Astoria Queens, and the driver who hit him fled the scene. In another incident on October 20, 2023, a crossing gaurd was struck and killed by a speeding driver in Queens. Our NYC pedestrian accident lawyers know how tragic these cases can be and how empty the family of a person who was lost in this type of accident can feel. These cases demonstrates how arbitrary New York's current wrongful death law is. If the victims had a spouse and children who the provided support for, the driver could be on the hook for millions. However, if these victims were single with no children and died instantly, the range of damages, is fairly modest, because New York's present law says his life just didn't have value.  

Our New York City wrongful lawyers know how unfair the present law is to the families of people killed in tragic accidents. 

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The Law Office of Michael H. Joseph, PLLC

Law Office of Michael H. Joseph, PLLC

The Law Office of Michael H. Joseph, PLLC, has been helping injured victims recover compensation for their injuries for over a decade. Our attorneys are members of several prestigious organizations, including: 

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