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Science Magazine Tries to Determine Value of Human Life

How much is a human life worth? In attempting to answer that question The British science magazine New Scientist noted the following thoughts:

  • In wrongful death lawsuits, juries and judges decide what amount should be paid in each case. For the overwhelming majority of cases, there is no actual value placed on the deceased person's life. As one legal expert notes, "There's damages for pain and suffering before you die, there's damages for loss of income to your family after you die. But for the life itself that was lost, it's worth nothing."
  • The families of US soldiers who die on active duty receive between $250,000 and $800,000.
  • The US government paid $10,000 to the family of a brother and sister mistakenly shot and killed at a checkpoint in Iraq.
  • The total value of the basic elements in the human body (carbon, calcium, iron etc.) for a 175-pound man: $118,000.
  • The largest life insurance policy ever purchased in the US was by a Silicon Valley billionaire. Apparently his life was valued at $201 million.
  • Cost per day to protect the lives of the two recent presidential candidates: $40,000

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