Stan's Articles

Stan Smith's articles have appeared in numerous legal and economic publications. Click here to find downloadable PDF versions of these articles.

Damages for The Value of Life

More and more, courts and juries are agreeing that the value of life is not trivial. If a court finds that someone is responsible for an injury or the loss of a life, then the full value of that injury or life should be compensated. We all place a value on our lives, even if we no longer earn a living.

The Hedonic Value of Life: Economic Expert Witness Testimony in Injury and Wrongful Death

Society agrees that people have a value separate from their earning capacity. Without economic expert witness testimony to assist in hedonic damages cases, juries struggle to determine the monetary value of life with no explicit market price. Through such testimony, awards may become more predictable, leading to more settlements, less litigation, and hence, lower insurance premiums.

Hedonic Damages: Evaluating the Intangible Loss of Life and Limb

Can we quantify life’s value? It is the economist’s job to reveal the implicit price society puts on life based on extensive research. Many studies show that when the income component is known, the hedonic component can be shown. The hedonic damages model is a concrete measure of the value of life, separate from lost earnings capacity.

Hedonic Damages in Personal Injury and Wrongful Death Litigation

One of the more difficult tasks facing jurors is to place a dollar value on loss of enjoyment of life in wrongful death and nonfatal injury cases. Such losses have recently become known as hedonic damages. Absent economic testimony, ac hoc valuation methods commonly used by juries in place of accurate hedonic damages estimations rarely result in equal justice under the law.

Spotting Bias in Plaintiffs’ Economic Loss Reports: A Primer for Both Sides

Everyone wants a fair and neutral economic assessment when determining plaintiff awards in personal injury and wrongful death cases. Bias can easily be manipulated to favor either plaintiff or the defense, and economists who use bias in several factors can waylay an entire jury unless effectively checked. Even modest biases in any one factor can lead to significant biases in the overall result.

Life Values: Measuring the Loss of Enjoyment of Life

Much of the sentiment for tort reform on the value of life has been stimulated by the rare but newsworthy “runaway” verdicts. While damages for measuring the loss of enjoyment of life have been widely argued for decades, juries relied mainly on ad hoc methods to award plaintiff’s in injury and wrongful death cases. More recently, claims for such damages have been supported by the testimony of economists who provide objective information on the loss of enjoyment of life, or hedonic damages, resulting in more accurate awards based on the life values established by hedonic valuation.

Hedonic Damages: Evaluating the Loss of Enjoyment of Life

Economic testimony on the value of life is becoming increasingly common. Testimony on hedonic damages can produce more consistent and rational jury verdicts. It can reduce the wide variability of awards which contributes to the current win/lose lottery effect of personal injury lawsuits. This encourages settlements rather than trials, and thereby reduces litigation and insurance costs. These are results we could all live with.

Price of Pleasure: New Legal Theorists Attach A Dollar Value to The Joys of Living

Great controversy once surrounded Stanley V. Smith’s theory of hedonic damages when it was first introduced to the world of legal economics in personal injury and wrongful death lawsuits. Hedonic damages theory is used to help determine the valuation of life by providing rough guidelines for valuing lost pleasure beyond a person’s worth in relation to their job/work.

Pseudo-Economists – The New Junk Scientists

The increased use of economic experts in commercial damage cases, as well as in personal injury and wrongful death cases, has resulted in the emergence of a group of experts who offer economic services but are unqualified and ill-trained in economics.

Stan V. Smith, Ph.D.

University of Chicago-trained Economist and Financial Consultant

Dr. Smith and his team provide high quality strategies to educate a jury in economic valuation & analysis for fair awards.

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