California Civil Jury Instructions (CACI) 3903A.

According to California Civil Jury Instructions (CACI) 3903A, the Plaintiff must prove the reasonable cost of reasonably necessary medical care to recover damages for past medical expenses to recover damages for past medical expenses. For future medical expenses, the Plaintiff must prove the reasonable cost of reasonably necessary medical care treasonably certain to need in the future. 

Medical Expenses

Medical expenses can be a significant burden on individuals and families, especially when they result from an injury or accident. In legal cases where compensation for medical expenses is sought, California courts often refer to CACI No. 3903A. This jury instruction provides guidelines for evaluating both past and future medical expenses. In this article, we will delve into the details of CACI No. 3903A and explore how it impacts the calculation of medical expenses in legal cases.

Understanding CACI No. 3903A: CACI stands for “California Civil Jury Instructions,” which are standardized instructions given to juries to guide them in their decision-making process. CACI No. 3903A specifically addresses the evaluation of medical expenses. It is crucial for both plaintiffs and defendants to comprehend this instruction as it forms the basis for calculating compensation related to past and future medical costs.


Past Medical Expenses

Past medical expenses refer to the medical costs incurred by the injured party up until the time of the trial or settlement. CACI No. 3903A states that the jury should consider all reasonable expenses that have been proved to be necessary for the care and treatment of the plaintiff’s injury. These expenses may include hospital bills, surgery costs, medication expenses, rehabilitation fees, and any other medical procedures or therapies required.


Future Medical Expenses:

Future medical expenses, as the name suggests, pertain to the estimated medical costs that the injured party is expected to incur beyond the trial or settlement. CACI No. 3903A instructs the jury to consider the reasonably certain future medical expenses that are likely to be incurred as a direct result of the injury. This can encompass ongoing treatments, medication, physical therapy, assistive devices, and any other medical care necessary for the plaintiff’s ongoing recovery or management of their condition.


Factors Considered:

In evaluating both past and future medical expenses, the jury must consider certain factors outlined in CACI No. 3903A. These factors include the nature and extent of the injury, the reasonableness of the medical treatment received, the duration and extent of the necessary future medical care, the inflation rate of medical costs, the life expectancy of the injured party, and any other relevant evidence presented during the trial.


Expert Testimony:


In complex cases, it is common for experts to provide testimony to assist the jury in assessing medical expenses. Medical experts, such as treating physicians or independent medical professionals, can provide their professional opinion on the reasonable cost and necessity of past and future medical care. Their testimony helps the jury understand the nature of the injury, the treatments required, and the associated costs.

Williams v. The Pep Boys Manny Moe & Jack of California

“ ‘In tort actions, medical expenses fall generally into the category of economic damages, representing actual pecuniary loss caused by the defendant’s wrong.’ ‘A person who undergoes necessary medical treatment for tortiously caused injuries suffers an economic loss by taking on liability for the costs of treatment. Hence, any reasonable charges for treatment the injured person has paid or, having incurred, still owes the medical provider are recoverable as economic damages.’ ”
– Markow v. Rosner

Markow v. Rosner

“The jury in this case was properly instructed with CACI No. 3903A, which directs the jury to determine ‘the reasonable cost of reasonably necessary medical care thatis reasonably certain to need in the future.”

Howell v. Hamilton Meats & Provisions, Inc.

“[A] plaintiff may recover as economic damages no more than the reasonable value of the medical services received and is not entitled to recover the reasonable value if his or her actual loss was less. California decisions have focused on ‘reasonable value’ in the context of limiting recovery to reasonable expenditures, not expanding recovery beyond the plaintiff’s actual loss or liability. To be recoverable, a medical expense must be both incurred and reasonable.”

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