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The economic cost of the Las Vegas shooting

05 October 2017, 09:05

I'm honored to have Rick de Alba as a friend. We often swim together. He's a bright man and a great lawyer. His specialty is personal injury law. While swimming yesterday, we had a talk about the tragedy in Las Vegas and the legal fallout. Some 59 people are reported dead at this time. Another 515 are wounded. according to the Los Angeles Times.

You have issues including the wrongful deaths of 59 people. Most of these people were fairly young and had 30+ years of work life left. When a court values the life lost wrongfully, it takes into account the earning capacity of the person and the number of work years lost due to death.

For example, let us assume that a 30 year-old accountant is killed. This man or woman was earning $100,000 per year. This person would work another 35 years. A simple formula would be 35 x $100,000 or $3,500,000. If the company or person who caused the death was extremely negligent, punitive damages of hundreds of thousands or millions of dollars could be added. When you multiply this by 59 deaths you can see a large sum.

Then it gets worse. Assault weapons make very nasty wounds. (If you need a demonstration, look on YouTube about what happens when an AK-47 bullet hits a watermelon.) You are going to have huge medical costs just for treatment of the wounded. You will also have the cost of caring for those permanently disabled for the rest of their lives. I could not begin to give a good estimate. Rick suggested simply a figure of "billions of dollars."

A flurry of lawsuits will be filed against the hotel/casino and the promoter of the concert. If the hotel has prepared well, Rick suggested that it might have $200,000,000 in insurance. A large group of judgments would drive the hotel/casino into bankruptcy. Everyone would lose in this case. Rick was sure that the Nevada legislature would grant them some exemption from liability.

The concert promoter will not have near the financial resources of the hotel/casino. Lawsuits would force them into bankruptcy. The families of the dead and the injured will get virtually nothing from them.

Ultimately the State of Nevada and the US government will get stuck with this huge bill. We could very well see a fund like the fund that compensated victims of the 9-11 attack.

Dear friends, the emotional pain and the suffering of the families of the dead and the injured will go on for decades. No one can put a dollar amount on this pain.

Rick also predicted that in the future when we go to check into a hotel, we will have to go through a security check like we get at the airport. I see a lot of people avoiding large crowd events in the future. This event will frighten a lot of foreign tourists considering a trip to the USA.

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