How much is a life worth?
There’s no price to be put on a human life, at least, not in normal circumstances. Life may, while it is being lived, be absolutely priceless, but death, in some circumstances, can have a definite value.
What I’m talking about is wrongful death, in which some party is responsible for the death of an individual, and a lawsuit has to put a price on that victim’s life.
It seems a rather grisly business, but it is an important one. After all, it seems to be common sense that a family should be taken care of after a tragedy, and one way to look at that is to consider how much money that lost individual would have provided for the family.
Let’s say it’s the family’s major breadwinner who is killed at work because of faulty machinery. If that breadwinner happens to be young, with a young family, his or her death isn’t just a personal tragedy, but a micro-economic tragedy as well. That family is owed the money which has been, in a way, robbed of them.
In fact, there are even more economic reasons to compensate the family. According to Resmini Law, there could also be medical expenses and funeral services to consider.
Beyond that, apparently, families can be compensated for the pain of losing someone. How that is calculated seems tricky to me, but such valuations are regularly made and include the loss of companionship and the loss of guidance to the family.
Exactly how much all of this adds up to is entirely based on the circumstances of the victim and their family. If it is that young breadwinner and that breadwinner made a decent salary and kept the family going, then that family probably is getting a large payday, in the millions. If the victim is older, makes less, and that income wasn’t essential to the family, it could be smaller.
Other factors have to be considered as well, like how responsible was the other party for the death? Only a little, only slightly, or could the entire situation have been avoided if that other party had done something differently?
I’ve had trouble finding out how much the average settlement for a wrongful death suit actually is, but it apparently runs from quite small amounts of money into the millions. My guess would be a trend toward that higher figure.
Regardless, though these suits seem reasonable on some level and important for society, they still seem rather grisly, as I said above. They must be quite painful for the families involved. After all, there may be a value placed on a particular death by a lawyer or a court, but to them, that life was still priceless, and once it’s lost, it’s still lost.