Bulala v. Boyd

In Bulala v. Boyd, 239 Va. 218, 389 S.E.2d 670, 677 (Va 1990), the plaintiff was a female child who had sustained severe injuries at birth as a result of the defendant's negligence. Expert testimony established that she had cerebral palsy and would never be able to walk or function beyond the mental capability of a one-year old. On the issue of lost earning capacity, the plaintiff presented the testimony of an economist, who calculated her loss based on statistics for the median income for women in that geographic area multiplied by the average national work life expectancy. Id. The Supreme Court of Virginia held that, although the plaintiff was not precluded based on her age alone from recovering damages for impairment of earning capacity, statistical averages, alone, were not sufficient to establish damages with reasonable certainty. Id. at 677-78. Rather, the "evidence must be grounded upon facts specific to the individual whose loss is being calculated." Id. at 677.