The Value of Wrongful Death Cases

One of the biggest challenges facing wrongful death attorneys and juries is to put a value on the life that was lost. Medical bills, lost wages, etc is the easy part – there’s a number for that. Things like pain and suffering (not usually recoverable in wrongful death cases), and loss of society or consortium can be very difficult to put a value on.

Now there’s a study in the UK courtesy of Scientific American that purports to put a price of losing a loved one. I’d be very interested to see the actual research, but the numbers they apparently came up with were as follows:

Loss of a spouse: $220,000 annually;
Loss of a child: $118,000 annually;
Loss of a parent: $28,000 annually;
Loss of a friend: $16,000 annually; and
Loss of a sibling: $2,000 annually.

This obviously raises a lot of questions… but it’s still worth a look.

(Howard Zimmerle is a personal injury attorney in Rock Island, Illinois)

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Filed under Juries, Legal News, Negotiations, Settlements, Trial Practice, Wrongful Death

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