The following blog entry is written from a defendant’s position as trial approaches. Reviewing this kind of briefing should help potential plaintiffs and clients better understand how parties in personal injury cases present such issues to the court.
It is worth noting that situations similar to those described in this medical malpractice case could just as easily occur at any of the healthcare facilities in the area, such as Kaiser Permanente, UC Davis Medical Center, Mercy, or Sutter.
(Please also note: the names and locations of all parties have been changed to protect the confidentiality of the participants in this wrongful death case and its proceedings.)
Plaintiff’s Wrongful Death Action Is Subject to Civil Code § 3333.1
Plaintiff Stella Hill’s wrongful death claim against defendant is thus, subject to collateral source rule articulated in Civil Code § 3333.1, allowing introduction of evidence of any amount payment as a benefit to the plaintiff. For more information you are welcome to contact Sacramento personal injury lawyer, Moseley Collins.
In Yates v. Pollock (1987) 194 Cal. App. 3d 195, a wrongful death action by the heirs of the decedent, the court upheld the applicability of Civil Code § 3333.1 and reiterated that that wrongful death claims are for injuries suffered by the heirs of medical malpractice victims. Id at 199. (See also, Krouse v. Graham (1977) 19 Cal.3d 59, 68.) In reaching a determination that the legislative intent of the statutory provisions placing a $250,000 cap on awards for noneconomic damages in all medical malpractice litigation, whether recovery is sought by patients who have themselves suffered personal injuries or by the survivors of such victims who initiate suits for wrongful death, the Yates Court relied on and pointed out the plain, unambiguous language in Civil Code § 3333.2 which states in pertinent part:
(a) In any action for injury against a health care provider based on professional negligence, the injured plaintiff shall be entitled to recover noneconomic losses to compensate for pain, suffering, inconvenience, physical impairment, disfigurement and other nonpecuniary damage. [para.] (b) In no action shall the amount of damages for noneconomic losses exceed two hundred fifty thousand dollars ($ 250 000). [para.] (c) For the purposes of this section: …[para.](2) Professional negligence means a “negligent act or omission to act by a health care provider in the rendering of professional services, which act or omission is the proximate cause of a personal injury or wrongful death ….”
Here, plaintiffs cannot argue that since the complaint is one for wrongful death that evidence of collateral source payments are precluded. (See Part 5 of 5.)
For more information you are welcome to contact Sacramento personal injury lawyer, Moseley Collins.