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Joe Crumley
Joe Crumley
Attorney • (800) 770-7008

Minnesotans Live a Long Time

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The front page of the St. Cloud Times lists deaths in the area, and today’s caught my eye. It is accurately reproduced below, with the ages highlighted:

  • Madolin Bay, 91, Glenwood
  • Melvin Beranek, 84, Foley
  • Doris Butcher, 88, Onamia
  • Annie Francis (Saumer) Carlson, 94, Isle
  • Ruth Christ, 90, Shakopee, formerly of Princeton
  • Allyn Davidshofer, 89, Cold Spring
  • Eldon H. Lockhart, 100, Sauk Rapids
  • Norma Elaine (Soberg) Norling, 76, Brainerd
  • Robert E. Riddle, Sr., 81, Little Falls
  • Geraldine L. Wieczek, 85.

Wow. the lowest age was 76, the average was 87.8!

Is there something in the water up here? I’m sure the families of all these people are grieving their loss, but they must also be praising the long lives these folks had.

It got me thinking, how does life expectancy in Minnesota stack up? Pretty high on the list, according to a story from Business Week. The story noted:

Minnesota is one example of how income isn’t necessarily correlated with life expectancy. The Harvard study found that low-income, white rural populations in the North, including Minnesota, the Dakotas, Iowa, Montana, and Nebraska, have life expectancies of 76.2 years for men and 81.8 years for women. That’s substantially more than 98% of the average white population. Many counties in the “Land of 10,000 Lakes” fared well in life expectancy, but Nicollet County was the top at 81.1 years.

Here’s a chart ranking the states from a recent study:

Rank

State

Life Expectancy

1

Hawaii

80.0

2

Minnesota

78.8

3

Utah

78.7

4

Connecticut

78.7

5

Massachusetts

78.4

6

New Hampshire

78.3

7

Iowa

78.3

8

North Dakota

78.3

9

Rhode Island

78.3

10

California

78.2

11

Vermont

78.2

12

Colorado

78.2

13

Washington

78.2

14

Wisconsin

77.9

15

Idaho

77.9

16

Nebraska

77.8

17

Oregon

77.8

18

South Dakota

77.7

19

New York

77.7

20

Maine

77.6

21

Florida

77.5

22

Arizona

77.5

23

New Jersey

77.5

24

Kansas

77.3

25

Montana

77.2

26

Alaska

77.1

27

New Mexico

77.0

28

Virginia

76.8

29

Delaware

76.8

30

Texas

76.7

31

Pennsylvania

76.7

32

Wyoming

76.7

33

Illinois

76.4

34

Michigan

76.3

35

Maryland

76.3

36

Ohio

76.2

37

Indiana

76.1

38

Missouri

75.9

39

Nevada

75.8

40

North Carolina

75.8

41

Georgia

75.3

42

Kentucky

75.2

43

Arkansas

75.2

44

Oklahoma

75.2

45

Tennessee

75.1

46

West Virginia

75.1

47

South Carolina

74.8

48

Alabama

74.4

49

Louisiana

74.2

50

Mississippi

73.6

51

District of Columbia

72.0

Data: Harvard University Initiative for Global Health and the Harvard School of Public Health

Life expectancy is something to which lawyers and insurers pay close attention. If a person suffers a permanent injury, that means they will carry that pain and suffering for a very long time. That’s one reason an insuarnce company will often pay a lot more for an injury to a 30-year-old than the identical injury to a 70-year-old.

But when highly qualified personal injury lawyers argue these claims with insurers, we point out a 70-year-old Minnesotan is just getting started!

We look for the opposite when a settlement is structured, as I pointed out in my Spring 2007 Practice Pointers Column:

Structured Settlement Specialist Tom Dunlap taught me another use of the [Life Expectancy] tables… When we buy structured settlements with lifetime benefits, we want the annuity company to use the lowest life expectancy, since this will tend to increase the amount of the periodic payments the company is willing to pay…. Tom indicates that an excellent specialist will investigate the medical records to see if there is anything that the insurer can use to reduce the life expectancy of the plaintiff. In many situations, the plaintiff receives millions of dollars more with a rated life expectancy!

Now, everything will be just fine if we can get Hawaiian InjuryBoard lawyer Wayne Parsons to lend us Minnesotans the weather they have in his #1 state.