In our legal system, individuals who are injured or killed due to the negligence of others are compensated with an award of money. As Paul Luvera writes in his blog, justice “can only be done by comparing the harm done to a sum of money which reasonable and fairly equals the harm.”
But what is a life worth? Many personal injury lawyers and juries have grappled with this question since the creation of our civil justice system. Despite the difficulty of this question, many federal agencies have assigned a money “value” to a human life. Currently, the Environmental Protection Agency values life at $9.1 million. The Food and Drug Administration values life at $7.9 million. The Department of Transportation values life at $6 million. You can read more here.
The civil justice system appears to be on par with federal agencies with regard to the value of life in wrongful death actions. For example, in Michaels v. CH2M Hill, the estate of Mike Cmos was awarded 7.6 million for the wrongful death of Mr. Cmos.