Jury Verdict Research did a study on personal injury verdicts in California. The study shows the compensatory median award for personal injury trials in California is $150,000. This is a lot higher than the national average of less than $40,000. But plaintiffs receive money damages in only 45 percent of cases that go to trial, which is 5% less than the national average.
This page looks at the settlement and trial value of personal injury cases in California. This page was last updated on September 2, 2021.
What Is a California Personal Injury Case Worth?
One study found that the average money damage award for personal injury trials in California is $1,814,094. The median verdict, perhaps a better statistic, is $114,305.
What is the median verdict in a California wrongful death case?
Earlier this year in Winter v. Gardens Regional Hospital, the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals revived a False Claims Act case filed by the Director of Care Management in a California hospital that claimed nearly $1.3 in Medicare claims that sought reimbursement for inpatient hospitalizations that were not medically necessary.
The U.S. District Court of Utah dismissed the case, without leave to amend, for failing to state a claim under the FCA. Specifically, the court believed that the qui tam plaintiff’s complaint failed to state a cause of action under the FCA because the allegations as a matter of law were “subjective medical opinions” that demonstrated a mere “difference of opinion” as to the medical necessity of inpatient hospital admissions.
Facts of Winter v. Gardens Regional Hospital
As the Baltimore Ravens prepare to battle it out next week with the San Francisco 49ers, a very different type of football-related battle begins. The family of Junior Seau, a former linebacker for the NFL, filed suit today against the NFL. The family claims that Seau’s suicide last May was the result of a brain disease, brought on by repeated blows to the head during his twenty-year career.
Seau, 43 at the time of his death, died from a self-inflicted gunshot to the chest. Earlier this month, it was determined that he had chronic traumatic encephalopathy, a neurodegenerative brain disease that can follow multiple hits to the head according to the National Institutes of Health.
NFL Players Lawsuit
This is not the first of its kind. Last June, more than eighty lawsuits involving thousands of former players who suffered concussions and brain injuries were consolidated into one master complaint. The lawsuit accused the NFL of hiding information that linked football-related head trauma to permanent brain injuries. Among the illnesses cited were dementia and Alzheimer’s disease.
Nursing homes have made a furious effort in recent years to end-run the tort system with arbitration clauses. The large nursing home chains have been at the forefront of this movement, incorporating Draconian provisions that require the resident to waive their constitutional right to a jury trial in exchange for admission, often with provisions that limit damages and discovery about what really happened in the first place. In states that allow for punitive damages in nursing homes, these arbitration agreements seek to deprive victims of the right to claim those damages.
California has stood up to the nursing homes – at least on some level – by enacting legislation, passing legislation to void nursing home agreements that require arbitration brought “against the licensee of a facility who violates any rights of the resident or patient as set forth in the Patients Bill of Rights in Section 72527 of Title 22 of the California Code of Regulations, or any other right provided for by federal or state law or regulation.”
California’s law makes sense. But it just does not go far enough. All nursing home arbitration claims should be voided on their face. Let’s be honest: arbitration agreements in nursing home cases are oppressive. There is an unbelievable amount of inequality in terms of bargaining power. The day you walk into a nursing home is not usually one of the better days of your life. Usually it happens after your inability to care for yourself has reached a critical mass. Now you are expected to have the lucidity to fully appreciate the ramifications of an arbitration agreement? My gosh, that scene should be in a legal dictionary next to the term “unequal bargaining power.”
It amazes me the extent to which every state has a very different law on survival action and wrongful death cases. I remember the first time I had a case in West Virginia back when I was defending pharmaceutical companies. The basis for damages in a survival action and a wrongful death claim were pretty much the exact opposite of how it works in Maryland. Today, we turn to a California lawyer who handles a lot of these claims, to give some thoughts on the nuances of wrongful death in his jurisdiction. It is Mike’s ball from here.
When a person is fatally injured due to the careless, reckless, negligent, or intentional actions of another person, entity, employer, or manufacturer, this is called, in California as in most other states, a wrongful death. This is a statutory claim alleging that a fatality occurred due to a wrongful act or negligence, it is important to consult a law firm that focuses on this area of the law and has the resources to prepare a wrongful death claim.
Time can be crucial in any legal action, to preserve evidence and interview witnesses, which are important factors in a negligent fatal accident. Investigating and preserving evidence will involve investigators, accident reconstruction experts, and medical experts, who can evaluate the evidence collected, as well as the cause of the death. So if you think you might have a claim, you should retain counsel as soon as practicable.
A wrongful death lawsuit has been in California against a shuttle bus company after the death of an elderly man with dementia who died after going missing. Ten days after he disappeared, a man walking his dog found Chin’s body lying face down off the side of a path near the VA Hospital.
Awful story. Where is the negligence? Good question. This lawsuit claims the shuttle bus dropped the man off and the wrong location and he wandered off.
Okay. But how does this involve the shuttle company? The complaint becoming lost in the San Francisco area. The suit accuses the bus driver and shuttle company of “elder abuse and negligence” in failing to ensure the 73 year old man’s safety. “The bus driver had an obligation and a duty of care to walk Chin to the door and ensure his safe arrival due to Chin’s dementia,” according to plaintiffs’ lawyer.
More than five years after the gory photographs of a teenage girl killed in a horrific automobile accident were released on the internet, her family’s lawsuit has come to an end. The deceased girl’s family filed suit against the California Highway Patrol (CHP) for broadcasting graphic photographs of the dead girl’s body over the internet, photographs which can still be found today.
The tragic story begins with the teen having driven her father’s Porsche without his permission, and ends in a senseless accident with her body being maimed and nearly decapitated. After reaching speeds of more than 100 mph, the teen clipped another vehicle, swerved, and struck a toll booth. She was so badly disfigured that her family was not permitted to view her body. Sadly, they would be given the chance thanks to two CHP dispatchers who took it upon themselves to leak the photographs. The photographs, never intend for public viewing, appeared on thousands of websites. Unbelievably, many websites mocked the girl as a spoiled rich girl, who got what she deserved. She was nicknamed “Porsche Girl.” The family even received anonymous taunting messages.
The family filed suit claiming an invasion of privacy. A Superior Court judge initially threw out the family’s lawsuit, concluding that the agency had not breached any legal duty to the family, as the law did not recognize the right of family members to sue for invasion of privacy involving photos of the dead at the time. But that changed in 2010 when the state’s 4th District Court of Appeal reversed the decision. For the first time in California, the court established that surviving family members have a right to sue for invasion of privacy in such cases.
Another day another Medicaid fraud settlement. In this one, Shield Healthcare, a California medical supplier, paid $5 million to settle a whistle-blower lawsuit that alleged that Shield submitting inflated bills to California’s Medicaid program. The suit claimed that the company submitted false claims and evaded the regulation’s upper billing limit. (I’d be curious how they did that. You have to admire the scope of the evil).
In a related story, California is going bankrupt.
A Jury Verdict Research study found that the average personal injury verdict in California is 1,635,327. The median, which takes out huge verdicts like one in the study for over $100 million, is California.
California juries are tougher on liability: plaintiffs receive damages in 45 percent of cases that go to trial.