In New York, loving families come in all shapes and sizes.

And all of them deserve the same rights under the law.

Who We Are

The Grieving Families Coalition is a group of New Yorkers committed to ensuring that when loved ones are lost in senseless and tragic incidents, the state recognizes the emotional suffering of those who loved them most. While often that might mean a spouse or a child, there are many surviving close family members who are left out of New York’s antiquated wrongful death statute. Not every family is built the same way - and when we unfairly lose people we are closest to, we deserve compensation based on our bonds of love, not on arbitrary legal designations.

Who We're Fighting For

The Grieving Families Coalition is committed to ensuring that when loved ones die because of neglect, recklessness, and negligence, society recognizes the emotional suffering of those who loved them most. While often that might mean a spouse or a child, there are many surviving close family members who are left out of New York’s antiquated wrongful death statute. Not every family is built the same way - and when we unfairly lose people we are closest to, we deserve equitable compensation based on our bonds of love, not on arbitrary legal designations.

We are fighting to pass the Grieving Families Act (a6770/s74) in the New York Legislature. This bill would allow courts to consider emotional loss and grief when compensating bereaved close family members who have lost a loved one due to negligence. Under New York’s outdated law, an award for wrongful death is limited to compensation for economic loss only, effectively telling close family members that the love, companionship, and guidance our loved one once provided, count for nothing.

Forty-one states have amended their wrongful death laws to include emotional loss, yet New York remains tethered to anachronistic language written in 1847. The current law harshly impacts children, seniors, women, and people of color who are already systemically undervalued in our society. In 2021, nobody’s grief should be measured by archaic notions of family breadwinners and their dependents.

The bill has overwhelming bipartisan support in both houses, with nearly 60 co-sponsors in the Assembly and nearly 50 co-sponsors in the Senate. In the Assembly, the bill was referred to the Rules committee from Judiciary and Codes Committees, and was referred to the Finance Committee from the Judiciary committee in the Senate. We cannot allow another year to go by without this becoming law. The Legislature must pass the Grieving Families Act when they return to Albany in January.

We need concerned citizens to tell their elected representatives to pass the Grieving Families Act.

Countless New Yorkers have suffered unbearable grief and had no standing to be compensated for their emotional losses unless they fit a narrow, outdated definition of family. We can change this and make our state a more caring and compassionate place for all families.

How YOU Can Help

We need concerned citizens to tell their elected representatives to pass the Grieving Families Act. Countless New Yorkers have suffered unbearable grief and had no standing to collect compensation from insurance unless they fit a narrow, outdated definition of family. We can change this and make our state a more caring and compassionate place for all families. Click TAKE ACTION to do your part.

Learn More

Read this Op-Ed about this important issue in New York Law Journal from State Senator Brad Hoylman and Assemblymember Helene Weinstein.

Read this Daily News story about family of a security guard who died tragically and the insurance company that refuses to compensate them.

Take Action

Send an email to your Assemblymember or State Senator.
You can find their contact info here

Here is some sample language to can copy and paste right in your email
or feel free to write your own!

Send an email to your State Senator and State Assemblymember with one click.

I write as a concerned constituent about the Grieving Families Act, a worthy bill that I hope you will support for passage this year. This act will update and expand New York’s antiquated wrongful death laws and make sure that the worth of loved family members is no longer based solely on their value as wage earners.

Our outdated laws fail to recognize that tragic loss doesn’t exclusively deal a financial blow, but an emotional blow as well. While no law can bring a family member back to life, it is important that New York’s wrongful death law recognizes the loss of companionship and comfort that family member once provided.

It’s time the grieving families of New York have justice. We must bring our Wrongful Death laws into the 21st century. I am counting on you to stand up for grieving New York families – all of them.