Life Expectancy

Progressively, Mr. Waterman uses Virginia’s “Table of Life Expectancy” not only in wrongful death cases, but also in personal injury cases!

Va. Code §8.01-419 embodies Virginia’s “Table of Life Expectancy”. It is an actuarial table of life expectancy for males and of females from ages 0 to 100.

By that statute, that Table legally is the presumptive life expectancy for individuals to be received in evidence in Court, subject to “other evidence as to the health, constitution and habits” of individual. Id. Therefore, in the absence of such “other evidence” and expert testimony, as a practical matter the Table becomes dispositive.

Traditionally, the Table is sued in wrongful death cases to establish how many years the deceased victim died prematurely. That differential of years then is used to quantify the extent of loss of the deceased’s society, companionship, comfort, guidance, advice, services, protection, care, and assistance for each surviving Statutory Beneficiary, i.e., the deceased’s spouse, children, parents and/or siblings.

Yet much more frequently, Mr. Waterman routinely uses the Table of Life Expectancy in his personal injury (non-death) cases! Most other lawyers overlook its value in that context.

Often, car accident, medical malpractice and other personal injury victims suffer permanent and/or other long-term losses, i.e., losses for the rest of their lives. For example, a motor vehicle accident (“MVA”) personal injury may cause the victim to suffer:

  1. Permanent or long-term scarring/disfigurement, disabilities/limitations and/or pain;
  2. Permanent or long-term medical, dental and/or other healthcare treatment, care, prescriptions, appliances, etc.; and/or
  3. Work life loss or diminution of income.

Therefore, in this personal injury context, the Table of Life Expectancy quantifies the duration of years for each such loss for living personal injury victims. Obviously that is much more tangible and specific that the otherwise amorphous concepts of “permanent” and “lifetime” losses and, thereby, much more persuasive and powerful.

Life Expectancy scaled

An added important benefit of the Table of Life Expectancy is that it can be introduced in evidence at trial without expert testimony. That saves substantial expert cost, time, planning, etc. – and may not be expected by defense counsel, who may be caught flat-footed without an expert to contest the Table’s legal presumption.

In any motor vehicle accident (“MVA”) claim involving permanent, lifetime and/or other long-term losses, Mr. Waterman always includes and emphasizes the Table of Life Expectancy in his MVA settlement demand packages. His quantification strategy uniformly has proved quite effective with insurance adjuster, who tend to tender their policy limits without litigation more readily.