How Much Is A Life Worth? The Value of Life in a Wrongful Death Suit.

How Much Is A Life Worth? The Value of Life in a Wrongful Death Suit.

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 her parents 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 of Illinois.

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) 485-4005.


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