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Business groups oppose wrongful death expansion in New York

The New York Assembly Judiciary Committee is set to review an expanded version of the state’s wrongful death statute on Tuesday, marking a renewed push for the legislation.

The proposal, which aims to widen the scope for filing wrongful death claims in pursuit of greater case equity, faces opposition from the state’s business community, including the National Federation of Independent Business, the Buffalo Niagara Partnership, and the Associated General Contractors.

The opposition groups argue that the revised legislation could substantially inflate liability insurance costs for public and private entities, pointing to an actuarial analysis which estimated an 11% increase in annual premiums for residents and businesses, as well as a $2.2 billion rise in automobile liability and general liability insurance.

The sponsors of the legislation have contended that the revised version addresses Governor Kathy Hochul’s concerns from the previous vetoed bill, notably through the introduction of a cap on wrongful death claim payouts.

However, Governor Hochul had previously rejected the bill due to opposition from business groups and local government organizations. As the end of the legislative session approaches on June 8, supporters of the measure remain hopeful that the revised bill will be passed.