What Is Shortened Life Expectancy In A Personal Injury Case?
In California, your damages for pain and suffering end with your death. Thus, there are life expectancy tables based upon age, gender, and race that are used to determine a person’s remaining life span. There is a new California appellate case entitled Johnson vs. Monsanto, in which the court held that the plaintiff cannot receive compensation for the fact that their life is shortened because of the defendant’s conduct. There are other ways to argue it, but you cannot argue that they should receive a certain amount of compensation for each year of life that they are not going to live because of the injury. That comes up in cases where a person has contracted cancer as a result of a defective product. As a result of the defective product, they now have a shortened life expectancy. For example, they no longer have 20 years of life, but only two years. This is a tough ruling for injury victims.
Instead, the argument that should be made is that the client’s loss of enjoyment of the years of life that they have left is worth more because of their shortened life expectancy. We use that a lot in cases with older clients. For instance, if a male victim is over 83 years old, which is past his life expectancy, can he be entitled to damages for future pain and suffering? The defense is going to say that he has already exceeded his life expectancy. In response, we argue to the jury that every minute that our client is alive is that much more valuable to him.. It is basically the golden years argument. These are your golden years, and to make you live them out in pain should require substantial monetary compensation.
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