CHILI, N.Y. (WROC) — Those in New York who believe they lost a relative to a wrongful death could soon have more power to sue the accused offender, but the bill this revolves around has yet to be signed by the Governor.  

It’s called the Grieving Families Act, which received bipartisan support in both the Senate and Assembly. Bobbi Koval who lost her son almost seven years ago in New York City after he was struck by a car at a crosswalk, is calling on Governor Kathy Hochul to give families more options to seek accountability.  

After hearing the news last year, the Grieving Families Act was on its way to Governor Kathy Hochul’s desk, Bobbi Koval thought the long fight to save other families the pain hers went through was over. But she is surprised the bill has not been signed.  

“This is a way for our legal system to become less broken and more able to help families,” Koval argued. “That have survived this kind of a tragedy. I just think people should do their jobs and since it made it to the governor’s desk, we were for sure going to see her sign it.”  

In Koval’s case, her son Jack was fatally struck by a car on a crosswalk in New York City. But court records show the driver only got his license suspended. Under the current wrongful death law, the Koval’s could not seek any compensation because their son was not financially supporting anyone. But they still had to pay off his lease and funeral costs.  

“Until we could break the lease or get a new roommate in, Joe and I his parents were paying $2500 a month,” Koval continued. “Then paying to bring Jack’s body home from New York, and memorial services were also expensive.”  

Under the Grieving Families Act, people would have up to 3.5 years to recover financial “damages for a wrongful act” by an accused offender who caused their relative’s death. The bill has received opposition from those in the insurance and healthcare industry arguing it will make premiums go up and pass the burden onto customers.  

“Insurance companies ensure the worst drivers with the least liability,” Koval added. “A person in the risk pool can only get ensured to $25,000 and if you’re a negligent driver your premiums should go up which is ok if you’re a bad driver.”  

We reached out to the Governor’s Office who told us the bill has not been signed because they’re still reviewing the legislation. But they will decide by the deadline, Jan. 30th.