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QUANTIFYING THE LOSS OF CARE, COMFORT, AND SOCIETY: HUMAN VALUE OF LIFE IN DIFFICULT, WRONGFUL DEATH CASES

Robert W. Johnson & Associates are the pioneers in providing attorneys with expert witness testimony and analysis that will assist a jury in placing a dollar value on the loss of care, comfort, society and consortium in wrongful death cases. The goal of this expert analysis is to provide a solid foundation and framework within which the loss of care, comfort, society and consortium to the decedent's survivors or estate can be determined. This economic testimony has averaged results in excess of $1,600,000. These are general damages that are to be added to the loss of economic support suffered by the decedent's survivors or estate.

Loss of Care, Comfort, Society & Consortium
(Human Value of Life)


The courts have historically and generally defined the intangible Human Value of Life using terms such as love, companionship, comfort, affection, society, solace and moral support. A Federal Jury in 1985 expanded this definition to include Hedonic damages (629 F. Supp. 159 (N.D.ILL. 1985)). Hedonic damages are general damages for the loss of the pleasure of being alive. It is within these working definitions that the Human Value of Life economic analysis is applied. The source for this economic analysis is the federal government.

Relevant Studies

The management of health and safety hazards provides protection at a price. Using regulations to decrease the number of lives lost usually requires the expenditure of societal resources. Whether private or public, any expenditures dedicated to saving lives requires the foregoing of other expenditures. Thus, any decision to take advantage of an opportunity to save lives confronts the issue: is the benefit worth the cost? In order for this question to be answered, it is necessary to know what value (price) society places on human life.

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Loss of Human Value of Life:

PDF iconWrongful Death Valuation Form



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In 1981, the question of "what value does society place on human life?" exploded in the government arena, with Executive Order 12291 by President Ronald Reagan, which made cost-benefit analysis a mandatory and key determinant in any federal government agency's regulatory decisions. Consequently, agencies such as the Environmental Protection Agency, the Consumer Product Safety Commission, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, etc., have had to justify proposed regulations using cost-benefit analysis. Thus, human lives must be expressed in terms of dollars. Consistently, the various federal agencies have used willingness-to-pay studies to value the intangible value of life.

The latest and most updated studies and research in this area support a Human Value of Life starting at $2,900,000.

Applications

The Human Value of Life analysis can be used to quantify the general damages in wrongful death cases for various survivors such as:

  • Children

  • Spouse

  • Parents

  • Siblings

  • Retirees

  • Unmarried Adults

  • Unemployed People

  • Decedent's Estate
Litigation Results

The Human Value of Life analysis has been utilized in litigation. In one well-known case, a jury awarded $1,600,000 for the loss of love, care, comfort and society to the adult children in the wrongful death of a 75-year-old widower. In another case, a jury awarded $2,700,000 to the minor children in the wrongful death of a 26-year-old homeless male. In one case, less than 21 days after Robert W. Johnson & Associates presented the Human Value of Life analysis at the deposition, the defense offer increased over 450% and the case settled.

Request this Service

To request this service, simply complete the necessary forms for your case and fax them to Robert W. Johnson & Associates at 650-494-2454.