There are various ways to calculate how much a life is worth in a wrongful death lawsuit, according to a recent article in Hawaii Business. Wrongful death lawsuits are designed to give monetary damages to a victim's family members and dependents for their economic loss. Typically, tort law calculates the value of a person's life. However, the law may do it differently based on an individual's career.
Some issues such as medical costs and funeral expenses have definite amounts that can't be disputed because plaintiffs can show bills. Economists use a different method than tort law to calculate a life's worth. It's called 'value of a statistical life" or VSL. One common approach is looking at how an individual valued his or her life. For instance, the amount of pay a person requires to perform dangerous work like window washing.
A George Mason University biochemist takes a different approach to calculating the value of life. The biochemist would rather value the elements in a person's body like insulin, prolactin, hemoglobin, bone marrow or DNA.
When a loved one dies because of someone else's negligence, their family members may want money to pay for medical costs and pain and suffering. Thus, they usually seek the help of a personal injury lawyer. This type of lawyer may investigate the facts surrounding the death to see if there is a claim. Also, a personal injury lawyer may negotiate a wrongful death settlement on a client's behalf. The settlement generally includes the wrongful party paying the victim's funeral expenses and future earnings. A personal injury lawyer may calculate the deceased's future earnings to receive a fair compensation for their clients.
Source: Hawaii Business, "What's It Worth: A Human Life", Dennis Hollier, June 01, 2013