Life Expectancy In Kentucky Wrongful Death Cases

How do you prove how long someone would have lived if they weren't in a fatal accident? The answer is life expectancy tables. Kentucky courts use these tables. Life expectancy tables show the average life span of women and men.
Life expectancy and annuity table
This table is not part of the official statute laws of Kentucky. However, its existence has been recognized and approved by the Court of Appeals in Morris v Morris, 293 SW(2d)243. The life expectancy figures are based on statistics derived from experience of the total population of the United States during the three years 1959 to 1961. The annuity factors were calculated by E. L. Caryer, Life Actuary of the Department of Insurance, as an immediate annuity certain which is approximately equal to the annuity due plus one, used in previous tables.

Related: Wrongful Death Cases - Jurisdiction And Statute In Kentucky

The life expectancy tables used in the U.S. were derived from the 1959-1961 census. They were developed for females and males which were then broken down by race within each gender category. The life expectancy for each of these groups varied, and the life expectancy shown on these tables is an average. It should be noted that factors appearing in this table are for an immediate annuity certain based on life expectancy. The computation differs slightly from previous tables of an annuity due based on deaths. Test checks were made and factor differences are approximately 1%.

Damages in a wrongful death case
Another factor is the decedent's power to earn money and benefits. Their power to earn money usually decreases after age 65. When calculating what they would have earned if it weren't for the fatal accident, you should consider: pensions, social security, etc. To find the proper sum of damages in action for wrongful death brought under KRS 411.130, take the annual loss to a decedent's estate and multiply it by the factor appearing under the appropriate interest column opposite the age of the decedent at the time of death. Example: Alex, age 30, was killed in an automobile accident through the negligence of Robin. The evidence showed that the loss to Alex's estate was $5,000 per year. The appropriate interest rate was determined to be 4%. You would take the $5,000 and multiply it by 20.4028 (the factor for age 30). This equals $102,014 which is the value to Alex's estate of their power to earn money.

Value of a life state
To find the value of a life estate, multiply the value of the beneficial interest by the appropriate rate of interest and this product by the factor less 1.0000 (to subtract the immediate payment) from the column containing the appropriate rate of interest for the given age of the life tenant. The result is the approximate value of the life estate. Subtract the value of the life estate, as ascertained above, from the beneficial interest, and the amount left will be the value of the remainder of the estate.

Related: Available Wrongful Death Insurance In Auto Accidents

Alex, age 40, received $10,000 for life with the remainder over to Robin. You will take $10,000 and multiply it by 4%. This equals $400, which is the annual income or annuity. Then take the $400 and multiply it by 17.3901 (18.3901 factor less 1.0000 for the immediate payment), the 4% factor for age 40, equals $6,956.04, which is the value of the life estate of Alex. The remainder interest of Robin is the difference of the principal sum and the life estate, which in this case is $10,000 less $6,956.04 or $3,043.96.

Michael Schafer
The Personal Injury Attorney for Louisville and Kentucky