California personal injury attorneys

Personal Injury Case Law

Supreme Court and Appellate Case Law - Because as lawyers, we feel it is important for our potential clients to understand how the often-confusing system of law works, we have dedicated this portion of our site to bringing you actual decisions of the California Court of Appeal and California Supreme Court directly to you. This area of our site will be updated regularly with an eye toward bringing you a sampling of various aspects of California personal injury law. When possible, we will try to emphasize cases involving Los Angeles courts and parties. Check here frequently for updated personal injury law cases, but the resources here are not intended as legal advice and your use of this site is subject to our terms and conditions.

Cases Discussing Personal Injury Law

California Collateral Source Rule - Cases discussing collateral source rule, and the Hanif and Nishihama Cases

  • Howell v. Hamilton (2009) - In a personal injury case, the Court of Appeal reversed the trial court's decision granting the defendant's post verdict motion to reduce the jury's special verdict award for the injury-related medical expenses the plaintiff incurred. The trial court's decision was based on fact plaintiff had private health care insurance, which had negotiated a lesser rate for services than the normal market value of such services. The court expressly held the negotiated differential was a benefit within the meaning of the collateral source rule, and thus the plaintiff would have recovered the amount of that differential as part of her recovery of economic damages for the past medical expenses she incurred for care and treatment of her injuries. This case is currently under review by the California Supreme Court and is not citeable in any court.

    The issue specified on the Supreme Court's website in the Howell case are: (1) Is the "negotiated rate differential" (i.e., the difference between the full billed rate for medical care and the actual amount paid as negotiated between a medical provider and an insurerr), a collateral source benefit under the collateral source rule, which allows plaintiff to collect that amount as economic damages, or is the plaintiff limited in economic damages to the amount the medical provider accepts as payment? (2) Did the trial court err in this case when it permitted plaintiff to present the full billed amount of medical charges to the jury but then reduced the jury's award of damages by the negotiated rate differential?

  • Another Collateral Source case, Codner v. Wills (unpublished) held the same as the Howell court, holding that the "trial court did not err" in denying a negligent defendant's motion to reduce the jury's award for past medical expenses based on claims plaintiff's health insurer actually paid less for the medical bills than the reasonable value of the bills.

  • Yanez v. SOMA Environmental (2010) In a personal injury case in which the trial court had reduced plaintiff's award so as to give the wrongdoer the benefit of plaintiff's insurerr's negotiated medical billing reductions, the Court of Appeal reversed, holding that the case followed by the trial court, Hanif, was improperly applied to the case at hand. The Court of Appeal, Fourth District, Division Three, stated: "Hanif's holding that, as a matter of law, the reasonable value of medical services can never be greater than the cash paid or liability incurred for them cannot sensibly be extended to the private insurance context. Rate discounts negotiated between health insurers and providers must be deemed collateral benefits which, under the collateral source rule, should accrue to the insured plaintiff, not the defendant. Therefore, the trial court erred by reducing Yanez's economic damages for past medical expenses based on Hanif. To the extent the reasonable value of the provider's services was greater than the discounted amounts paid or incurred for those services, Yanez was entitled to the entire amount as damages under the collateral source rule. Since the jury found that $44,519.01 in damages for past medical expenses was reasonable, she was entitled to that amount, without reduction." Note: The Supreme Court granted review in Yanez on September 1, 2010, pending its review in Howelll (grant and hold).

  • King v. Willmett (2010) In this case, the court reaffirmed the vitality of the collateral source rulle, consistent with Yanez and Howelll. The court stated: "In this case we primarily consider whether, in a negligence action against a nonpublic defendant, the reduction of a plaintiff's award of past medical expense damages to the dollar amount ultimately paid by the plaintiff's private health insurance to his health care providers is appropriate under the collateral source rule. In light of the public policy conclusions expressed by our state Supreme Court and the Legislature's enactment of specific statutes governing the operation of the collateral source rule in limited kinds of cases, we conclude reduction is inappropriate in this case. Therefore, the trial court erred in reducing the award here."

  • Note: On Ocotber 13, 2010, the California Supreme Court issued an Order that review in King be granted, and the case held pending review (as is customary when there are numerous cases involving the same issue) in Howelll. The case is therefore no longer citeable.

  • In another Medi-Cal lien reduction case, Lopez v. DHS, the Court of Appeal held that a trial court properly reduced a DHS' lien as requested by plaintiff in a motion under California Welfare and Institutions Code section 14124.76, which was enacted after the Supreme Court's decision in Alhorn v. ADHS.

    Casusation of Damages - Big Rig Truck Case

  • Andreyuk v. Wal-Mart - In this California Truck Accident Case, the Court of Appeal held that a jury verdict finding that Wal-Mart was negligent, but that the negligence did not cause plaintiff's harm, was legally unsupportable, agreeing with the trial court - Wrongful Death

  • Sexual Abuse Cases - Cases Asserting Negligent Supervision Leading to Sexual Abuse

  • Minkler v. Safeco (2010) - In this case, the California Supreme Court found that a homeowners insurance poilicy afforded coverage to a vitcim of sexual abuse, due to the wording of the policy.
  • Note: California Rules of Court, rule 8.1115(a), prohibits courts and parties from citing or relying on opinions not certified for publication or ordered published, except as specified by rule 8.1115(b). Any opinions contained on this site that are identified as unpublished have not been certified for publication or ordered published for purposes of rule 8.1115. Additionally, published cases may be later "de-published" and the validity and status of every case should be evaluated by a licensed attorney prior to being relied upon as legal authority. Use of this site and its email features, constitutes your agreement and acknowledgment that the information provided herein is intended for general informational purposes only, and is not legal advice.

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