California Civil Jury Instructions (CACI)

3903A. Medical Expenses - Past and Future (Economic Damage)

[Insert number, e.g., "1."] [Past] [and] [future] medical expenses.

[To recover damages for past medical expenses, [name of plaintiff] must prove the reasonable cost of reasonably necessary medical care that [he/she] has received.]

[To recover damages for future medical expenses, [name of plaintiff] must prove the reasonable cost of reasonably necessary medical care that [he/she] is reasonably certain to need in the future.]

Sources and Authority

"[A] person injured by another's tortuous conduct is entitled to recover the reasonable value of medical care and services reasonably required and attributable to the tort." (Hanif v. Housing Authority of Yolo County (1988) 200 Cal.App.3d 635, 640 [246 Cal.Rptr. 192], internal citations omitted.)

"It is established that 'the reasonable value of nursing services required by the defendant's tortious conduct may be recovered from the defendant even though the services were rendered by members of the injured person's family and without an agreement or expectation of payment. Where services in the way of attendance and nursing are rendered by a member of the plaintiff's family, the amount for which the defendant is liable is the amount for which reasonably competent nursing and attendance by others could have been obtained. The fact that the injured party had a legal right to the nursing services (as in the case of a spouse) does not, as a general rule, prevent recovery of their value . . . ." (Hanif, supra, 200 Cal.App.3d at pp. 644-645, internal citations omitted.)

"Nor is it necessary that the amount of the award equal the alleged medical expenses for it has long been the rule that the costs alone of medical treatment and hospitalization do not govern the recovery of such expenses. It must be shown additionally that the services were attributable to the accident, that they were necessary, and that the charges for such services were reasonable." (Dimmick v. Alvarez (1961) 196 Cal.App.2d 211, 216 [16 Cal.Rptr. 308].)

"Implicit in the . . . cases is the notion that a plaintiff is entitled to recover up to, and no more than, the actual amount expended or incurred for past medical services so long as that amount is reasonable." (Hanif, supra, 200 Cal.App.3d at p. 643.)

" 'To entitle a plaintiff to recover present damages for apprehended future consequences, there must be evidence to show such a degree of probability of their occurring as amounts to a reasonable certainty that they will result from the original injury.' " (Bellman v. San Francisco High School Dist. (1938) 11 Cal.2d 576, 588 [81 P.2d 894], internal citation omitted.)

Secondary Sources

6 Witkin, Summary of California Law (9th ed. 1988) Torts, § 1408

4 Levy et al., California Torts, Ch. 52, Medical Expenses and Economic Loss, §§ 52.01, 52.03 (Matthew Bender)

California Tort Damages (Cont.Ed.Bar 1988) Bodily Injury, §§ 1.19-1.31

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

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

1 Bancroft-Whitney's California Civil Practice (1992) Torts, § 5:12

(New September 2003)