The value of human life is in many ways a subjective question. In wrongful death lawsuits, Georgia courts and juries consider two basic criteria to arrive at a dollar figure to measure the cost of a life that has been truncated by the wrongful act of another person: economic and non-economic damages. Economic damages measure more tangible losses connected with the loss of a loved one, such as lost income expectancy and costs associated with medical expenses preceding the death as well as funeral and burial expenses. Non-economic damages are ones associated with what many people consider to be "pain and suffering" injuries, and these can be much harder to calculate with certainty.
Occasionally the jury's decision on how much to award in damages can itself be the subject of a dispute between the plaintiffs and the defendant's. This is what has happened in a Georgia wrongful death lawsuit that was recently decided against Fiat-Chrysler Automobiles, in which the jury awarded the plaintiffs $150 million in connection with the death of their four year-old son when an allegedly defective gasoline tank exploded after a rear-end collision.