When awarding damages in a wrongful death suit, what criteria are used to determine the "value" of the person's life? Does the plaintiff and/or defendant have any input into this process?

1 Answer 1


Human life is worth between $1 million and $10 million. Apparently.

I did a quick Google search and found a couple of interesting sources to answer this question.

In that second source, I found these interesting charts which seem to support the answer given.

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Also, this Wikipedia article says the following:

Life Value in the US

The following estimates have been applied to the value of life. The estimates are either for one year of additional life or for the statistical value of a single life.

  • $50,000 per year of quality life (international standard most private and government-run health insurance plans worldwide use to determine whether to cover a new medical procedure)
  • $129,000 per year of quality life (based on analysis of kidney dialysis procedures by Stefanos Zenios and colleagues at Stanford Graduate School of Business)
  • $9.1 million (Environmental Protection Agency, 2010)
  • $7.9 million (Food and Drug Administration, 2010)
  • $9.4 million (Transportation Department, 2015)
  • $9.1 million (Prof. W. Kip Viscusi, Vanderbilt University, 2013)

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