California Civil Jury Instructions (CACI)

3932. Life Expectancy

If you decide [name of plaintiff] has suffered damages that will continue for the rest of [his/her] life, you must determine how long [he/she] will probably live. According to [insert source of information], a [insert number]-year-old [male/female] is expected to live another [insert number] years. This is the average life expectancy. Some people live longer and others die sooner.

This published information is evidence of how long a person is likely to live but is not conclusive. In deciding a person's life expectancy, you should also consider, among other factors, that person's health, habits, activities, lifestyle, and occupation.

Directions for Use

Use of the life tables in Vital Statistics of the United States, published by the National Center for Health Statistics, is recommended. (See Damages, Table A, Life Expectancy Table—Male and Table B, Life Expectancy Table—Female.)

Sources and Authority

"The life expectancy of the deceased is a question of fact for the jury to decide, considering all relevant factors including the deceased's health, lifestyle and occupation. Life expectancy figures from mortality tables are admissible but are not conclusive. Here the jury was correctly told the figure given was not conclusive evidence of Charlene's life expectancy. It was merely 'a factor which you may consider,' along with the evidence of Charlene's health, habits, occupation and activities." (Allen v. Toledo (1980) 109 Cal.App.3d 415, 424 [167 Cal.Rptr. 270], internal citations omitted.)

"Mortality tables are admissible to assist the jury but they are not indispensable. It has been held, for example, that, absent mortality tables, the trier of fact may still approximate the life expectancy of a statutory beneficiary who appeared in court." (Francis v. Sauve (1963) 222 Cal.App.2d 102, 121 [34 Cal.Rptr. 754], internal citations omitted.)

"It is a matter of common knowledge that many persons live beyond the period of life allotted them by the mortality roles." (Temple v. De Mirjian (1942) 51 Cal.App.2d 559, 566 [125 P.2d 544], internal citation omitted.)

Secondary Sources

6 Witkin, Summary of California Law (9th ed. 1988) Torts, § 1405, pp. 876-877

4 Levy et al., California Torts, Ch. 51, Pain and Suffering, § 51.42[2][c], Ch. 52, Medical Expenses and Economic Loss, § 52.20 (Matthew Bender)

15 California Forms of Pleading and Practice, Ch. 177, Damages (Matthew Bender)

6 California Points and Authorities, Ch. 65, Damages (Matthew Bender)

(Revised February 2005)