Panish and Chang Ask What is The Value of a Poor Man’s Life

Posted on May 11, 2012

It might seem counterintuitive to some, but in many wrongful death cases, it can make more sense to discard economic damages entirely in order to focus on the noneconomic damage that can befall those persons who have had a loved one taken away from them.  In the January issue of Advocate, our own Brian J. Panish and Deborah Chang discuss their thinking when it comes to this increasingly common legal strategy.

They base their arguments on the results that Panish Shea & Boyle were able to gain on behalf of a client.  A 2009 train accident tragically cut short the life of a blind man when he fell into the gap between two train cars.  That individual’s mother filed a suit against the Los Angeles Metropolitan Transportation Authority, and the jury awarded her $17 million in noneconomic damages.  In that case, our firm chose to only pursue noneconomic damages, and this strategy proved to be successful.

This strategy is becoming increasingly common, as we can never really put a price on the value of one’s life.  The emotional devastation inflicted on surviving family members can be far greater than the economic loss, and plaintiffs deserve proper compensation.

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