Business Team

Personal Injury Cases

Read about the basic principles behind obtaining compensation for personal injuries resulting from things such as auto accidents, premises liability ("slip-and-fall"), work-related accidents, dog attacks, intentional assaults and batteries, defective products, government claims, and more.

 

Jury Instructions

California Civil Jury Instructions (CACI)

California Civil Jury Instructions (CACI) provide a clear summary of what is important to know about personal injury matters because they are the actual instructions that the trial judge reads to a jury that guide them to decide how much money your case is worth based on all of the evidence and testimony presented at trial.

3901.     Introduction to Tort Damages

If you decide that [π] was harmed and that [Δ]’s [negligence …] was a substantial factor in causing the harm, you also must decide how much money will reasonably compensate [π] for the harm. This compensation is called “damages.”  The amount of damages must include an award for each item of harm that was caused by [Δ]’s wrongful conduct, even if the particular harm could not have been anticipated.

[π] does not have to prove the exact amount of damages that will provide reasonable compensation for the harm. However, you must not speculate or guess in awarding damages.

3902.     Economic and Noneconomic Damages

The damages claimed by [π] for the harm caused by [Δ] fall into two categories called economic damages and noneconomic damages. You will be asked on the verdict form to state the two categories of damages separately.

3903.     Items of Economic Damage

List Body

3903A.     Medical Expenses:  Past and Future (Economic Damage)

To recover damages for past medical expenses, [π] must prove the reasonable cost of reasonably necessary medical care that he/she has received.

To recover damages for future medical expenses, [π] must prove the reasonable cost of reasonably necessary medical care that he/she is reasonably certain to need in the future.

3903C.     Past and Future Lost Earnings (Economic Damage) 

To recover damages for past lost earnings, [π] must prove the amount of   income, earnings, salary, or wages that he/she has lost to date.

To recover damages for future lost earnings, [π] must prove the amount of  income, earnings, salary, wages that he/she will be reasonably certain to lose in the future as a result of the injury.

3903D.     Lost Earning Capacity (Economic Damage)

To recover damages for the loss of the ability to earn money as a result of the injury, [π] must prove the reasonable value of that loss to him/her. It is not necessary that he/she have a work history.

3903F.     Damage to Real Property (Economic Damage)

To recover damages for harm to property, [π] must prove the reduction in the property’s value or the reasonable cost of repairing the harm.  If there is evidence of both, [π] is entitled to the lesser of the two amounts.

To determine the reduction in value, you must determine the fair market value of the property before the harm occurred and then subtract the fair market value of the property immediately after the harm occurred. The difference is the reduction of value.

“Fair market value” is the highest price for the property that a willing buyer would have paid to a willing seller, assuming:  

i. That there is no pressure on either one to buy or sell; and

ii. That the buyer and seller know all the uses and purposes for which the property is reasonably capable of being used.

3903G.     Loss of Use of Real Property (Economic Damage)

To recover damages for the loss of use, [π] must prove the reasonable cost to rent similar property for the time when he/she could not use his/her own property

3903J.     Damage to Personal Property (Economic Damage)

To recover damages for harm to personal property, [π] must prove the reduction in the personal property’s value or the reasonable cost of repairing it, whichever is less. 

To determine the reduction in value, you must determine the fair market value of the personal property before the harm occurred and then subtract the fair market value of the personal property immediately after the harm occurred.

“Fair market value” is the highest price that a willing buyer would have paid to a willing seller, assuming:  

i. That there is no pressure on either one to buy or sell; and

ii. That the buyer and seller are fully informed of the condition and quality of the personal property.  

If you find that [π]’s personal property cannot be completely repaired, the damages are the difference between its value before the harm and its value after the repairs have been made, plus the reasonable cost of making the repairs. The total amount awarded must not exceed the personal property’s value before the harm occurred.

3903K.     Loss or Destruction of Personal Property (Economic Damage)

To recover damages for the loss or destruction, [π] must prove the fair market value of the personal property just before the harm occurred.

“Fair market value” is the highest price that a willing buyer would have paid to a willing seller, assuming:  

i. That there is no pressure on either one to buy or sell; and

ii. That the buyer and seller are fully informed of the condition and quality of the personal property.

3903L.     Damage to Personal Property Having Special Value (Economic Damage)

To recover damages for the unique value, [π] must prove all of the following:  
1. That the personal property had some market value;
2. That the personal property had unique value to [π]; and
3. That [Δ] had notice of this unique value before the harm; or that [Δ]’s conduct was intentional and wrongful.
No fixed standard exists for deciding the amount of this value. You must use your judgment to decide a reasonable amount based on the evidence and your common sense.

3903M.     Loss of Use of Personal Property (Economic Damage)

To recover damages for loss of use, [π] must prove the reasonable cost to rent a similar personal property for the amount of time reasonably necessary to repair or replace the  personal property.

3903N.     Lost Profits (Economic Damage)

To recover damages for lost profits, [π] must prove it is reasonably certain he or she would have earned profits but for [Δ]’s conduct.
To decide the amount of damages for lost profits, you must determine the gross amount [π] would have received but for [Δ]’s conduct and then subtract from that amount the expenses [π] would have had if [Δ]'s conduct had not occurred.
The amount of the lost profits need not be calculated with mathematical precision, but there must be a reasonable basis for computing the loss

3905.     Items of Noneconomic Damage

The following are the specific items of noneconomic damages claimed by [π]:
 
1. Past and future physical pain, mental suffering, and emotional distress.   

2. Loss of consortium.

3905A .     Physical Pain, Mental Suffering, and Emotional Distress (Noneconomic Damage)

[π] claims that he or she has suffered past and will suffer future pain and suffering and emotional distress.

No fixed standard exists for deciding the amount of these noneconomic damages. You must use your judgment to decide a reasonable amount based on the evidence and your common sense.

To recover for future pain and suffering, [π] must prove that he or she is reasonably certain to suffer that harm.

3920.     Loss of Consortium (Noneconomic Damage)

[π] claims that he has been harmed by the injury to his wife.  If you decide that [John Doe] has proved his claim against [Δ], you also must decide how much money, if any, will reasonably compensate [π] for loss of his wife’s companionship and services, including:  
1. The loss of love, companionship, comfort, care, assistance, protection, affection, society, moral support; and
2. The loss of the enjoyment of sexual relations [or the ability to have children].
[π] may recover for harm he proves he has suffered to date and for harm he is reasonably certain to suffer in the future. No fixed standard exists for deciding the amount of these damages. You must use your judgment to decide a reasonable amount based on the evidence and your common sense.