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)