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

Judicial Council of California Civil Jury Instructions (2020 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/nonbinary pronoun] 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/nonbinary pronoun] 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.)
• “ ‘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.)
• “Requiring the plaintiff to prove future economic losses are reasonably certain
‘ensures that the jury’s fixing of damages is not wholly, and thus impermissibly,
speculative.’ ” (Atkins v. City of Los Angeles (2017) 8 Cal.App.5th 696, 738 [214
Cal.Rptr.3d 113].)
• “[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
777
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omitted.)
Secondary Sources
6 Witkin, Summary of California Law (11th ed. 2017) Torts, §§ 1842, 1843
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, § 177.46
(Matthew Bender)
6 California Points and Authorities, Ch. 64, Damages: Tort, § 64.190 (Matthew
Bender)
1 California Civil Practice: Torts, § 5:15 (Thomson Reuters)
CACI No. 3903C DAMAGES
778
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