Loss of a Loved One : An Empirical Study of Pain and Suffering Awards in Wrongful Death Cases in China

Research output: Journal Publications and ReviewsRGC 21 - Publication in refereed journalpeer-review

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Original languageEnglish
Article numbercxad006
Journal / PublicationChinese Journal of Comparative Law
Publication statusOnline published - 19 Jun 2023


This article presents the first empirical evidence on the Chinese judicial assessment of pain and suffering damages for wrongful death. Drawing upon 1,225 Chinese judicial decisions of medical negligence resulting in a patient’s wrongful death, it investigates the empirical effects of various guiding factors that the Supreme People’s Court requires lower courts to consider when awarding the pain and suffering damages, and further tests the deep pockets theory and the anchoring effect theory in the real-life setting of Chinese wrongful death litigation. Based on regression analysis, this study finds that the awarded economic damages, the causal contribution of the defendant’s negligence, and the living standard of the court’s locality positively correlate with the amount of pain and suffering damages in wrongful death cases. It also finds empirical evidence supporting the deep pockets effect and the anchoring effect in Chinese courts’ awarding pain and suffering damages for wrongful death.

© The Author(s) (2023).