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.

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.

Economist Proposes Relief from Ruling for Plaintiff

There wasn’t always a standard formula for calculating future lost wages when a plaintiff suffered a loss of enjoyment of life or hedonic damages. Before this methodology became standard practice in injury and wrongful death trials, economists faced an uphill battle to ensure fair settlements for plaintiffs in personal injury cases.

Hedonic Damages and Personal Injury: A Conceptual Approach

In a personal injury case, juries may be asked to consider the loss of the pleasure of life. Economists and financial experts sometimes testify in this area, but a reliable system for rating and quantifying such damages in personal injury cases has not been developed and communicated. An interdisciplinary approach for applying hedonic valuations establishes a foundational model.

Why Juries Can Be Trusted

Can we trust a jury in today’s modern world? Despite occasional bombastic headlines, the jury system remains one of the more reliable criminal trial methods ever devised. Here, we explore why juries can be trusted, and present peer-reviewed research that supports the civil jury system.

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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