Using Annuity Mortality Tables In Wrongful Death Actions

Under Georgia law, there is a statutory Annuity Mortality Table which was passed into law in 1949. This table is commonly referred to by Georgia lawyers as “The Annuity Mortality Table 1949 Ultimate.” The figures in this table have been used for years in wrongful death actions and are still relied upon by juries today in assessing damages. Essentially, the Mortality Table shows that if a person has lived to a certain age that it is likely they will live a certain additional number of years based on Annuity Mortality studies which resulted in the statutory Tables. For example, someone who has lived to age 40 will live an approximate say 35.15 more years if he is a male and 40.11 years if she is a female. In other words, the table sets forth the life expectancy of the decedent. These tables can be effectively used in a wrongful death action in establishing the “full value of the life” of the decedent, not only with respect to economic damages but also non-economic damages. With respect to economic damages, if it is established, for example, under the terms of the Annuity Mortality Table, that the decedent would have worked an additional 25 years (up until age 70) before he or she retired and then an additional 10 years based on their life expectancy, then counsel may argue that the jury should award 25 years of earnings at an average rate of what the decedent showed they were capable of earning, the same 25 years for “non-economic damages” (enjoyment of life) plus an additional 10 years while living in retirement for the “non-economic damages” suffered by the decedent. While counsel are not restricted to using an Annuity Mortality Table in any case, and can utilize the services of an economist who can extrapolate such figures from the evidence introduced at trial, nonetheless, the Annuity Mortality Table 1949 Ultimate is a good piece of evidence to use in Georgia to help the jury understand the magnitude of a wrongful death claim and how they should go about calculating damages projected over many years.
Life expectancy as shown by the Mortality Tables is merely an estimate of the average remaining life of anyone in Georgia. Such tables while not binding on a jury are nonetheless useful guides in helping to demonstrate the likely life expectancy of the decedent. While such figures are obviously not relevant if the decedent was suffering from cancer, for example, or had a family history of heart disease or diabetes or other diseases which could shorten the life expectancy, for someone who dies with no serious health consequences, the Annuity Mortality Table 1949 Ultimate is a significant piece of evidence which can be used by experienced counsel in demonstrating the extent of one’s economic and non-economic damages in a wrongful death case in Georgia.

Published on:

Comments are closed.

Contact Information