Peeples and Harris, ‘What is a Life Worth?’

This article examines the amount recovered in 118 wrongful death cases filed in a single jurisdiction (North Carolina) over a five year period. The dataset is unique, in that it includes both jury verdicts and settlements. Although the injury – death – was the same in these cases, the amount recovered varied greatly. Several patterns emerge from the data. First, there is a strong negative correlation between age and the amount recovered. Second, the manner in which the decedent died seems to make a difference. Violent deaths, for example, led to larger recoveries than did non-violent deaths. Third, jury verdicts produced much larger recoveries than did settlements. Finally, our results underscore the critical role of insurance in these cases.

Peeples, Ralph A and Harris, Catherine T, What is a Life Worth? (2014).

First posted 2014-09-18 07:16:31

Leave a Reply