When I was a child, an exciting event at the beginning of each school year was receiving the insurance papers, one page of which was reserved for a detailed list of possible claims.

I don't remember all the details, of course, but the list looked something like this:

Loss of baby toe - $50

Loss of thumb - $100

Loss of hand - $1000

and so on.


Almost all the various body parts were listed along with their "worth", and we spent many recesses and lunch hours discussing which limbs and faculties we would be willing to lose and what we would do with the money.

One cannot put a monetary value on life; and today I wouldn't give up my baby toe for a million dollars. However...

It seems to me that the same sort of schema could be worked out and used to determine restitution in instances of physical and psychological harm. After all, we apply the same sort of thinking (cost/benefit analysis, basically) to many other aspects of our lives, from car safety to health care.