Wrongful Death Challenges For N.Y. Parents


The country mourns so much loss from the sunshine state this past week, the latest heartbreak coming as law enforcement announced the body of the little boy snatched by an alligator at a Disney Resort was recovered.

Many are calling for Disney to take responsibility and expect a lawsuit to follow in the coming months.

When a person dies because of another’s negligence, survivors often file wrongful death lawsuits, seeking compensation for loss – a small comfort, many state laws provide to families.

Christina Sonsire, Partner at Ziff Law Firm said losing a child is every parents worst nightmare, explaining the different ways different states handle wrongful death lawsuits.

“In Pennsylvania and in Florida the family members can recover for their own mental anguish and their grief,” said Sonsire.

However just two miles North over the state border of Pennsylvania, it’s a different story, all together.

“I’ve had to sit with parents and say, it appears your child died as the result of negligence but there is no recourse in New York State,” explained Sonsire. “And there is no way to get justice.”

New York is one of a handful of states that doesn’t protect people, young and old who are not in the workforce.
“The harsh reality of New York State law is that if this tragic incident that occurred at Disney had happened here in New York State most most likely there would be no recourse for this family,” said Sonsire.

The result? devestating insult added to the injury of losing a loved one.

There is some hope for change, a bill that has come to be known as The Grieving Families act is working to address the problematic law that Sonsire calls unjust.

“Members of our firm and lawyers across the state have been lobbying in Albany for for the better part of a decade,” explained Sonsire.

She added that the biggest push back on the bill comes from lobbyist representing groups like insurance companies that have got a lot to lose financially if family members are compensated for the loss of  their children.

If you’d like to push for change to this law, you’re encouraged to contact your own state representative directly to demand better protection for state residents who are not in the workforce.

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