Economics, Ethics, and Tort Remedies: The Emerging Concept of Hedonic Value

Karns, Jack E.
September 1990
Journal of Business Ethics;Sep90, Vol. 9 Issue 9, p707
Academic Journal
This article reviews the development of hedonic value of life as a remedy in wrongful death and personal injury tort cases. Hedonic value estimates the worth of lost pleasures of living in an effort to compensate for intangible enjoyments, such as quality of education and environmental standards. This remedy goes well beyond the traditional approach which has compensated primarily for lost earnings and other expenses directly related to the tortious conduct. Most of the attention regarding hedonic value as a relatively new tort remedy has focused on its application in non-business litigation However, given the significant damage awards in, recent cases, it is likely that this economic theory will arise in commercial litigation, especially products liability cases. The business community must be conversant with the ethical issues raised by this novel tort remedy in order to fashion a reasoned and socially acceptable contra-position.


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