Proposed Change in New York Law Would Impact Mesothelioma Victims’ Families

The families of New Yorkers lost to malignant mesothelioma are waiting and watching as New York Governor Kathy Hochul considers a bill that’s been sent to her for signature. The Grieving Families Act (Senate Bill S74A) would be the first change to the state’s wrongful death statute since 1847. It would dramatically expand the damages that family members would be eligible to receive from asbestos companies following a jury assigning them blame for a wrongful death.

grieving family

Current Law Limits Damages Available to Those Who’ve Lost Loved Ones to Mesothelioma

Under current New York law, the wrongful death compensation available to survivors of those whose loved ones have died of malignant mesothelioma are limited to reimbursement for any medical expenses incurred prior to the victim’s death, funeral expenses, and loss of income pension, inheritance, and medical insurance that the victim provided. If there are children, they can claim loss of nurture, care, and guidance, and families can also seek compensation for the pain and suffering that their loved one endured.

Unlike most other states, New York does not currently allow families of mesothelioma victims who file wrongful death claims to be compensated for their emotional suffering. The law also limits families to a two-year statute of limitations on filing a wrongful death claim.

New Law Would Provide Families of Mesothelioma Victims with More Justice

The new law is the work of multiple state lawmakers who see it benefitting those who have lost seniors, children, and many others, well beyond the families of mesothelioma victims. The bill would expand the damages those family members are eligible to receive to include emotional losses, and would also lengthen the statute of limitations to three-and-a-half years. It would also redefine and expand the definition of “family member.”

The bill has been awaiting the governor’s signature since its passage in early June. Though mesothelioma victims’ advocates and others are eager for the bill to become law, Governor Hochul’s office has given no indication of whether or when it will be signed.

If you or someone you love has been impacted by malignant mesothelioma, the Patient Advocates at are here to provide you with the information and resources you need. Contact us today at 1-800-692-8608.

Terri Heimann Oppenheimer

Terri Oppenheimer

Terri Heimann Oppenheimer is the head writer of our news blog. She graduated from the College of William and Mary with a degree in English. Terri believes that knowledge is power and she is committed to sharing news about the impact of mesothelioma, the latest research and medical breakthroughs, and victims’ stories.

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