CACI No. 3903C. Past and Future Lost Earnings (Economic Damage)

Judicial Council of California Civil Jury Instructions (2017 edition)

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3903C.Past and Future Lost Earnings (Economic Damage)
[Insert number, e.g., “3.”][Past] [and] [future] lost earnings.
[To recover damages for past lost earnings, [name of plaintiff] must
prove the amount of [insert one or more of the following:
income/earnings/salary/wages] that [he/she] has lost to date.]
[To recover damages for future lost earnings, [name of plaintiff] must
prove the amount of [insert one or more of the following:
income/earnings/salary/wages] [he/she] will be reasonably certain to lose
in the future as a result of the injury.]
New September 2003
Directions for Use
This instruction is not intended for use in employment cases.
Sources and Authority
• “We know of no rule of law that requires that a plaintiff establish the amount of
his actual earnings at the time of the injury in order to obtain recovery for loss
of wages although, obviously, the amount of such earnings would be helpful to
the jury in particular situations.” (Rodriguez v. McDonnell Douglas Corp.
(1978) 87 Cal.App.3d 626, 656 [151 Cal.Rptr. 399].)
• “ ‘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.)
• The Supreme Court has stated: “ ‘Under the prevailing American rule, a tort
victim suing for damages for permanent injuries is permitted to base his
recovery “on his prospective earnings for the balance of his life expectancy at
the time of his injury undiminished by any shortening of that expectancy as a
result of the injury.” ’ ” (Fein v. Permanente Medical Group (1985) 38 Cal.3d
137, 153 [211 Cal.Rptr. 368, 695 P.2d 665], internal citations omitted.)
• “[T]he majority view is that no deduction is made for the injured party’s
expected living expenses during the lost years.” (Overly v. Ingalls Shipbuilding,
Inc. (1999) 74 Cal.App.4th 164, 171 [87 Cal.Rptr.2d 626], internal citations
Secondary Sources
6 Witkin, Summary of California Law (10th ed. 2005) Torts, §§ 1666, 1667
California Tort Damages (Cont.Ed.Bar) Bodily Injury, §§ 1.39–1.41
4 Levy et al., California Torts, Ch. 52, Medical Expenses and Economic Loss,
§§ 52.10–52.11 (Matthew Bender)
15 California Forms of Pleading and Practice, Ch. 177, Damages (Matthew
6 California Points and Authorities, Ch. 64, Damages: Tort (Matthew Bender)
1 California Civil Practice: Torts, § 5:15 (Thomson Reuters)

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