How New York gets it wrong on wrongful death

Western New York Personal Injury Law Blog

How New York gets it wrong on wrongful death

The most recent issue of the New York State Trial Lawyers Association’s publication ‘Bill of Particulars’ includes an article by NYSTLA President Michele S. Mirman, Esq. about the deficiencies in New York’s wrongful death laws.

New York was actually the first state in the Union to enact a wrongful death statute.  The law, passed back in 1847, finally allowed the families of deceased victims a chance to recover for the losses caused by that death.

Unfortunately, there hasn’t been much, if any, progress since then.  Today, New York is one of only six states that limits recovery for wrongful death to pecuniary injuries (i.e., economic loss) and the victim’s conscious pain and suffering.  The loss and anguish experienced by survivors is not compensable under New York’s laws.

This means that huge swathes of the population, including children, stay-at-home parents, and the elderly – basically anyone who isn’t actively earning money – just are not as important under the state’s current wrongful death laws.  The worst tragedy imaginable would be to lose a child due to someone else’s negligent or reckless conduct.  But under the current draconian law, the parents of such a child would have no right to make a claim for their immeasurable suffering.

Please contact the Governor’s office (1-518-474-8390) and your state representatives to let them know that you agree that the current law is unfair and should be changed.  If you have questions concerning this or other personal injury matters, you can always call Campbell & Associates at [nap_phone id=”LOCAL-REGULAR-NUMBER-Eden”], or send an email to





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