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Is New York’s wrongful death law outdated?

Laws change all the time to reflect changes in society and in the needs of the people. Some laws, though, are on the books that were created centuries ago. A good example, according to The Buffalo News, is New York’s wrongful death law. It first became law in 1847. Many think that it is horribly out of touch with the needs of today’s society and too limiting for those who wish to file a wrongful death lawsuit.

There have been attempts by lawmakers to update the wrongful death laws in the state. Nothing has happened as yet. The laws remain the same as they were back before the Civil War. Much has changed in society since that time. We now have technology that was only a dream back then. Our motor vehicles are light years beyond what they had in the 1840s. There are more risks in the workplace. So many wrongful death claims brought before the courts today would never have happened when this law was first put on the books.

The current law only allows you to claim lost income from the death of your loved one. It does not allow you to get damages for anything else. This means that if your loved one was a child, for example, you really have no case because there are no lost wages to recover. At most, you may be able to get paid for medical bills and funeral costs.

This outdated law was put in place to help families of railroad workers. Now, it applies to more than just workers. You can make a wrongful death claim for the loss of any loved one for any reason as long as someone’s negligence led to his or her death. This law does not adequately offer protection that makes sense for today’s wrongful death cases.