California Civil Jury Instructions (CACI) (2017)

3927. Aggravation of Preexisting Condition or Disability

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3927.Aggravation of Preexisting Condition or Disability
[Name of plaintiff] is not entitled to damages for any physical or
emotional condition that [he/she] had before [name of defendant]’s
conduct occurred. However, if [name of plaintiff] had a physical or
emotional condition that was made worse by [name of defendant]’s
wrongful conduct, you must award damages that will reasonably and
fairly compensate [him/her] for the effect on that condition.
New September 2003
Sources and Authority
• “A tortfeasor may be held responsible where the effect of his negligence is to
aggravate a preexisting condition or disease.” (Hastie v. Handeland (1969) 274
Cal.App.2d 599, 604 [79 Cal.Rptr. 268], internal citations omitted.)
• “Plaintiff may recover to the full extent that his condition has worsened as a
result of defendant’s tortious act.” (Ng v. Hudson (1977) 75 Cal.App.3d 250,
255 [142 Cal.Rptr. 69], internal citations omitted, overruled on another ground
in Soule v. GM Corp. (1994) 8 Cal.4th 548, 574 [34 Cal.Rptr.2d 607, 882 P.2d
298].)
• “It is by no means self-evident that an act which precipitates a flare-u of a
preexisting condition should be considered a ‘cause which, in natural and
continuous sequence, produces the injury.’ Thus, general instructions on
proximate cause were not sufficient to inform the jury on the more specifi
issue of aggravation of preexisting conditions.” (Ng, supra, 75 Cal.App.3d at p.
256.)
• “[An instruction on preexisting condition] is proper only where the injured is
the claimant seeking compensation for his injuries. That is not the case here in
a wrongful death action.” (Vecchione v. Carlin (1980) 111 Cal.App.3d 351, 358
[168 Cal.Rptr. 571].)
Secondary Sources
6 Witkin, Summary of California Law (10th ed. 2005) Torts, § 1676
California Tort Damages (Cont.Ed.Bar) Bodily Injury, § 1.86
4 Levy et al., California Torts, Ch. 51, Pain and Suffering, § 51.23[3] (Matthew
Bender)
15 California Forms of Pleading and Practice, Ch. 177, Damages (Matthew
Bender)
6 California Points and Authorities, Ch. 64, Damages: Tort (Matthew Bender)
2 California Civil Practice: Torts, § 5:11 (Thomson Reuters)
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