Let me tell you about another heartbreaking wrongful death settlement. Heartbreaking for two reasons, as I will explain below.
A middle-aged married woman was walking to work in Geneva, Ontario County, New York. To get to work she had to cross Routes 5/20, also known as Hamilton Street. She crossed in a crosswalk, which meant she had the right of way, and vehicles traveling down Routes 5/20 had to yield to her. But the driver of an 18-wheeler, who was traveling along Routes 5/20, mowed her down. She did not survive.
Her heartbroken widower sought out a Geneva wrongful death claim against the negligent tractor-trailer driver and his commercial carrier/employer.
The first reason this case was so heartbreaking is that the widower was so extremely aggrieved. He deeply loved his wife. They took good care of each other, and spent all their free time together.
The second reason the case was so heartbreaking is that, despite the widower’s overwhelming grief, he was entitled to so little in compensation under New York’s outrageously unfair wrongful death law. As I explained in my last blog, New York State’s wrongful death statute does not allow compensation for grief, sorrow or emotional suffering. All that is allowed is compensation for “economic loss”, which in this case was simply whatever money the deceased wife would have provided to support her husband over her lifetime had she not been killed, as well as the economic value of her household services to him. But since she was employed as a low-wage house keeper, the widower’s claim for loss of economic support was correspondingly small.
The widower’s emotional loss dwarfed his economic loss. But New York’s wrongful death law turned a blind eye to all that grief, and,instead offered him only compensation for his economic losses. But he didn’t even want compensation for that! He wanted compensation for his REAL loss; his emotional loss.
I am sad to report that he did not get compensation for that, and therefore, he did not get justice. Chalk another one up to New York’s very wrongful,