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The Value of a Life in a Wrongful Death Claim


The value of human life is calculated in a number of bizarre ways, depending on the purpose of the institute or company. These values of human life can offer an estimate of what a claim is worth, but in order to get to the true value of a wrongful death claim, an attorney must carefully analyze the specific elements in your case.

How Government Agencies Estimate the Value of an American’s Life

When it comes to placing a value on life, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is the most generous. The dollar value of a life that this federal agency gives to each American is created with a risk/reward calculation. The EPA uses the following method, as reported by NPR:

  • 1 out 25,000 people will die on the job each year;
  • Employers have to pay, on average, $400 a year extra for employees to take this risk; and
  • $400 multiplied by 25,000 comes out to $10 million.

The EPA is not alone in putting a value on human life. It is a way that agencies, insurance companies, and other businesses make financial decisions, such as whether creating a new safety standard in vehicles is worthwhile in terms of the cost of implementing it versus the number of lives it will save. Various federal agencies estimate the value of a life as follows, according to Bloomberg:

  • Environmental Protection Agency—$10 million;
  • Food and Drug Administration/Health and Human Services—$9.5 million
  • Department of Agriculture—$8.9 million; and
  • Department of Transportation—$6.4 million.

Unfortunately, simply because a government agency puts a certain dollar value on a life does not mean that that is what you will receive in a wrongful death claim.

Other Valuations

According to Bloomberg, the following are other “values” that are attributed to American life:

  • Average lifetime earnings for a college graduate—$2.4 million;
  • Median wrongful death jury verdict—$2.2 million;
  • Median 9-11 settlement compensation—$1.7 million;
  • Average life-insurance policy face value—$160,000; and
  • Average net worth of U.S. household—$80,039

However, your wrongful death claim has much more to do with specific damages, the degree of fault of each party, and the insurance policy of the liable party.

How Wrongful Death is Actually Calculated in a Lawsuit

Wrongful death claims are calculated based on the following damages:

  • Estimated lost income over the deceased person’s remaining lifetime;
  • Loss of consortium;
  • Pain and suffering;
  • Medical expenses;
  • Loss of joy of life for the plaintiff;
  • Emotional distress of the plaintiff;
  • Lost income of the plaintiff;
  • Funeral and burial expenses;
  • Property damage; and
  • More.

An Orlando Wrongful Death Attorney Can Help

The tragedy of losing a loved one cannot be replaced by any dollar amount. However, by filing a wrongful death claim against the negligent party, you can help provide a better financial future for yourself and your family than if you were to not file a claim. There are many costs associated with the death of a spouse, child, or other family member, including medical expenses, funeral and burial expenses, property damage, lost income, and much more. An Orlando wrongful death attorney can help you seek justice. Call the Payer Law today at 866-930-1238 to schedule a free consultation.



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