CACI  INSTRUCTIONS
3921. Wrongful Death (Death of an Adult)

If you decide that [name of plaintiff] has proved [his/her] claim against [name of defendant] for the death of [name of decedent], you also must decide how much money will reasonably compensate [name of plaintiff] for the death of [name of decedent]. This compensation is called “damages.”

[Name of plaintiff] does not have to prove the exact amount of these damages. However, you must not speculate or guess in awarding damages.

The damages claimed by [name of plaintiff] fall into two categories called economic damages and noneconomic damages. You will be asked to state the two categories of damages separately on the verdict form.

[Name of plaintiff] claims the following economic damages:
     1. The financial support, if any, that [name of decedent] would have contributed to the family during either the life expectancy that [name of decedent] had before [his/her] death or the life expectancy of [name of plaintiff], whichever is shorter;
     2. The loss of gifts or benefits that [name of plaintiff] would have expected to receive from [name of decedent];
     3. Funeral and burial expenses; and
     4. The reasonable value of household services that [name of decedent] would have provided.

Your award of any future economic damages must be reduced to present cash value.

[Name of plaintiff] also claims the following noneconomic damages:
     1. The loss of [name of decedent]’s love, companionship, comfort, care, assistance, protection, affection, society, moral support; [and]
     [2. The loss of the enjoyment of sexual relations[; [and]/.]]
     [3. The loss of [name of decedent]’s training and guidance.]

No fixed standard exists for deciding the amount of noneconomic damages. You must use your judgment to decide a reasonable amount based on the evidence and your common sense.

[For these noneconomic damages, determine the amount in current dollars paid at the time of judgment that will compensate [name of plaintiff] for those damages. This amount of noneconomic damages should not be further reduced to present cash value because that reduction should only be performed with respect to future economic damages.]

In determining [name of plaintiff]’s loss, do not consider:
     1. [Name of plaintiff]’s grief, sorrow, or mental anguish;
     2. [Name of decedent]’s pain and suffering; or
     3. The poverty or wealth of [name of plaintiff].

In deciding a person’s life expectancy, you may consider, among other factors, the average life expectancy of a person of that age, as well as that person’s health, habits, activities, lifestyle, and occupation. According to [insert source of information], the average life expectancy of a [insert number]-year-old [male/female] is [insert number] years, and the average life expectancy of a [insert number]- year-old [male/female] is [insert number] years. This published information is evidence of how long a person is likely to live but is not conclusive. Some people live longer and others die sooner.

[In computing these damages, consider the losses suffered by all plaintiffs and return a verdict of a single amount for all plaintiffs. I will divide the amount [among/between] the plaintiffs.]

CACI are the approved jury instructions from the Judicial Council of California. Jury instructions are read to the jury by the judge and establish the law the jury must follow in deciding the case. A partner of Cheong, Denove, Rowell, Bennett & Hapuarachy  has been formally recognized as one of the attorneys who assisted the task force in the preparation of these jury instructions.
 

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