What is the value of a wrongful death in a medical malpractice case? Ultimately, the value is what the jury says the value of the life was. Of course, the jury’s value is different from the value that the plaintiffs are actually allowed to receive. The pain and suffering cap in medical malpractice cases in Maryland for a wrongful death in 2018 is $1,00,000, assuming you have more than one survivor. Otherwise, it is only $800,000. For a human life.
Is that fair? Do we have any other way to estimate the value of a human life? The federal government values human life in the context of how much we should spend to keep a person alive. Even within the federal government, the numbers vary:
- EPA: $9.1 million
- FDA: $7.9 million
- DOT: $6.0 million
Does it make sense that the federal government cannot agree with itself on the value of a human life? I think it does with these ranges. No one knows the exact answer. But it is impossible to argue that a human life is worth less than $1 million as Maryland’s cap on damages does in medical malpractice cases for people whose loss does not cause economic hardship (economic damages) for the survivors. We keep trying to make headway with the Maryland legislature on how ridiculous these caps are. We have former clients — always clients, actually — who have testified multiple time before the General Assembly to get rid of something not many reasonable people think is just. But we still don’t seem to have much traction.