(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.
There are additional problems with a reduction for saved necessities in lost years damages. First, the failure to award plaintiff his full compensation for his lost years damages flies right in the face of the rationale laid out in Hurlbut, which is to provide the injured person with the use of a specific pool of funds during his lifetime. Second, as Professor Fleming’s article also identifies, there is a clear distinction that is made in the recoverable damages in a personal injury action and in a wrongful death action. The distinction between recoveries in personal death actions and wrongful death actions cannot be clearer than the situation here – and as noted above in Overly. For more information you are welcome to contact Sacramento personal injury lawyer, Moseley Collins.
Further, plaintiffs are bringing a personal injury action against defendants. On the basis of this being a personal injury action, defendants can request periodic payments pursuant to California Code of Civil Procedure section 667.7. What is more, as was shown earlier, section 667.7 only has application and relevance in personal injury actions.
Therefore, it is completely illogical to apply concepts and rules that only have application in the context of wrongful death cases, in order to place a limitation upon “lost years” damages, when the law makes a clear distinction between personal injury and wrongful death actions and where periodic payments can only be utilized in such personal injury actions.
This view is consistent with the U.S. Supreme Court case of Sea-Land Services Inc. v. Gaudet (1974) 414 U.S. 573, which was also cited by the Fein opinion. In Sea-Land, the U.S. Supreme Court expressly held 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. (Sea-Land, supra 414 U.S. at 594.) One’s ability to work may have a monetary value even though that person is not employed by another.
You must determine the present cash value for the lost years earning capacity, which are those future losses for earning capacity, if any, which would occur after the end of his present life expectancy.
For more information you are welcome to contact Sacramento personal injury lawyer, Moseley Collins.