Economists are not popular people. In part because they are tasked with
the insurmountable responsibility of effectively putting a value on someone’s
life. After 9/11 we certainly all remember the
wrongful death lawsuits from the families of the first responders, and the economists who told
them, they could only recover a certain amount for the life of their loved
ones. It’s a difficult concept to grasp, that each human life has
a certain economic value to it. Particularly because we view each other
as priceless. No amount of money is worth going through the pain and suffering
of losing someone close to you. But in order for families to obtain some
form of compensation against the person who caused the death of their
loved ones, the reality of our legal system insists there be a way to
figure out the amount of that life.
Lives can be valued in many ways. Simplistically, these break down into
how much earning potential the decedent had, how much longer s/he was
expected to live, possible future promotions, career changes, etc. But
an interesting article in the
St. Louis Dispatch presents another consideration: the value of her life, less the amount
do not have to pay for her. And this is where the economists come in. They are
experts who show juries the different ways to put a value on a life.
Jessica and Kelli Uhl were driving home when a State Trooper going 126
miles per hour while emailing and talking on his cell phone crossed the
median of a busy highway. Because police officers are state actors, the
State pays for the injuries to their victims. Jessica was killed in a
horrific car accident from his reckless driving, and Kelli was seriously injured for life. Their
families were awarded twice the largest award in history against the state
In calculating the award, the jury was tasked with figuring out the value
of the companionship and time Jessica offered to her parents. Then they
subtract from this amount, that money her parents would save because of
her death. Turns out, the value of Jessica’s life was $189,420.00.
An incredibly low amount for the loss of a young woman’s life. But
a necessary figure all the same, to allow her parents some compensation
for her loss.
The State Trooper who caused the accident now has a
worker’s compensation claim.
St. Louis personal injury and car accidents lawyers
Cantor Injury Law, LLC have over 40 years combined experience fighting for the families of wrongful
death victims who have died or been seriously injured in car accidents.
We have recovered millions for our clients.
Call us today for your
free consultation: (314) 542-9999.