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Putting a price on human life

Virginia residents may disagree with the practice of setting a price on a human life. However, in the realm of insurance claims and wrongful-death lawsuits, a price needs to be set. The purpose of this is to provide compensation to family members who have not only lost a loved one, but have lost financially. Tort law states that the value of a life can be measured by estimating that person’s future income.

There was a case in Hawaii that illustrates this point. Hawaii recently paid out a settlement that is thought to be the largest personal-injury claim in its history. In this case, the state was found liable for the deaths of two people who fell off of a cliff during a hike. The poorly marked trail was found to be the cause of their fall.

The value set for each of the two people was quite different. One of them was a Columbian national. Her family was awarded $425,000 minus the legal fees. The other was a rising star partner in a well-known California law firm. Her award was for the substantial sum of $15 million.

When a family has suddenly lost an income and are facing funeral expense or medical bills, a settlement can make a tremendous difference. The purpose of a settlement is to help a family recover from a devastating loss. Personal injury attorneys have experience in helping families to navigate the often confusing and overwhelming court system. Anyone who has lost a loved one in an accident due to the carelessness or negligence of someone else may find speaking to a personal injury attorney to be beneficial.

Source: Hawaii Business, “What’s It Worth: A Human Life”, Dennis Hollier, June 07, 2013

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