Wrongful Death of a Child in New York State

There may be no pain worse than the pain of losing a child. Yet, when it comes to the wrongful death of a child, New York law refuses to recognize this fact by not allowing parents to recover compensation for this emotional damage when a child is taken away from them due to the negligent or wrongful conduct of another. The wrongful death statute in New York is only meant to address the monetary or economic affect a family member’s death has on those they supported. This is problematic because a minor child does not economically support a family. Despite this legal hurdle, the Kingston injury attorneys at Basch & Keegan remain committed to representing our clients to the fullest extent and working vigorously to obtain some measure of justice when a tragedy of this magnitude occurs.

New York’s Harsh Wrongful Death Statute

Most states have a wrongful death law in place, allowing a spouse, parent, or child to recover compensation when a family member is killed due to another’s negligence or misconduct. Each state’s laws spell out who can bring a wrongful death claim and what types of damages may be recovered. Most states allow for the recovery of funeral and burial expenses, as well as the loss of companionship of a loved one. New York, however, is one of a handful of states which does not recognize this latter type of harm. In New York, parents cannot recover for their own grief and loss – the emotional toll of losing a child. Outside of actual expenses incurred, such as medical expenses and funeral or burial expenses, parents are limited to recovery for damages such as the value of services the child would have provided to the household, such as doing chores. And even this insignificant and pitiable amount is reduced by the estimated cost of caring for the child, which the parents will no longer have to incur.

So What Can Be Done for the Families of Wrongful Death Victims?

So far, the insurance companies have been successful in keeping any changes to the law out of the legislature by claiming such a change would lead to increased insurance premiums for consumers – a claim which is contradicted by the experience in other states which do cover such losses. Regardless, the attorneys at Basch & Keegan do not let these harsh measures stand in their way when it comes to righting wrongs and fighting injustices. In a recent case, our lawyers were successful in settling in Ulster County for $160,000 for the estate of a six-month-old baby who died in a structural fire. This result is one of the largest settlements on record for the wrongful death of a child in New York state.

Get Help from Experienced and Successful Attorneys

Of course, no amount of money can bring a child back or make up for a lost life – but obtaining a significant amount of compensation in cases such as these provides some type of real relief for families in distress – and sends the message to irresponsible landlords, negligent drivers, and their insurance companies that the life of a child means something and does have value. Our lawyers continue to hold firm to that belief and fight for it every day. If you have lost a child or other beloved family member due to another’s negligence, contact Bash & Keegan in Kingston to speak with one of our dedicated lawyers.

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