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 successfully advocated for the Legislature to pass Grieving Families Act (a6770/s74) this year and we're now shifting our efforts to the Governor's Office so the bill can be signed into law once and for all. 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 Under New York’s outdated law, an award for wrongful death is limited to compensation for economic loss only, effectively telling close family members that the love, companionship, and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 passed both houses this session, but the Governor has not yet signed the Grieving Families Act into law!

We need concerned citizens to tell Governor Hochul to sign the Grieving Families Act into law now.

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 Governor Hochul to sign the Grieving Families Act into law. 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 The Buffalo News from State Assembly Majority Leader Crystal Peoples-Stokes and Assemblymember Helene Weinstein.

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

Take Action

You can email the governor directly here

Paid for by the New York State Academy of Trial Lawyers.