Family Fights For Damage Award For Malpractice By Sacramento Hospital, Part 5 of 8

(Please note: the names and locations of all parties have been changed to protect the confidentiality of the participants in this personal injury case and its proceedings.)

It is also 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, U.C. Davis Medical Center, Mercy, or Sutter.


That later time came four (4) years later, when the court of appeals for the Fifth District had an occasion to revisit the lost years area. In Hurlbut v. Sonora Community Hospital (1989) 207 Cal. App.3d 388, the court, relying upon the California Supreme Court decision in Fein, upheld the finding of lost years damages so as to allow the injured party the use of a specific pool of funds. (Id. at 405.) For more information you are welcome to contact Sacramento personal injury lawyer, Moseley Collins.

The court in Hurlbut, like the court in Fein, was again willing to strike out boldly in the area of loss of future earnings and its non-application to periodic payments, by categorizing the concept of “lost years” to be an exception to Code of Civil Procedure section 667.7. Ordinarily, under section 667.7, when a medical malpractice action results in an award for future damages, the trial court must order periodic payments on request. (Id. at 405.) However, where damages for future loss of earnings are concerned, a limited exception to this rule applies insofar as the award is for loss of earnings attributable to the plaintiff’s lost years (the period by which his life expectancy was diminished as the result of the defendant’s negligence). (Id. 405-406.)

Further, even though Fein left the issue of what deductions should be made for the saved cost of necessities from the plaintiff’s lost years recovery, the court in Hurlbut also chose not rule upon this issue. The court in Hurlbut, however, provided more justification behind its decision not to rule on the issue, than did the Fein court.

The court in Hurlbut, like the court in Fein, felt that evidence was not available in order to allow the jury to proportion lost year damages. (Id. at 406.) Moreover, the court in Hurlbut relying upon Fein states that the burden rests upon the defendant to propose the necessary special findings in order to seek an allocation of lost years damages. (Id. at 407.) However, the court does not state what evidence the defendant must present in order to meet its burden to enable the jury to make those special findings. (See Part 6 of 8.)

For more information you are welcome to contact Sacramento personal injury lawyer, Moseley Collins.

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