Howell Decision: Past Medical Expense Damages Limited to Amount Paid


Howell v. Hamilton Meats & Provisions, Inc., 2011 Cal. LEXIS 8119 California Supreme Court, August 18, 2011

On August 18, 2011, the California Supreme Court handed down its long-awaited decision in Howell v. Hamilton Meats & Provisions, Inc. on the issue of whether a tortiously injured plaintiff may recover as economic damages for past medical expenses the undiscounted sum stated in the provider's bill but never paid by or on behalf of the injured person. The Court's holding limits the recovery of past medical expense damages to amounts paid by the plaintiff's insurer, and it excludes any amount billed yet unpaid.

Plaintiff Rebecca Howell was seriously injured when her car was struck by a truck driven by one of defendant Hamilton Meats & Provisions, Inc.'s employees. Howell had private health insurance with PacifiCare and underwent two spinal fusions and surgical procedures for harvesting grafts. Before surgery, Howell executed an agreement with Scripps Memorial Hospital and CORE Orthopedic Medical Center to be fully liable for all charges. Ultimately, PacifiCare paid a reduced amount for Howell's medical treatment and Scripps and CORE wrote-off the balance.

Please see full article below for more information.

LOADING PDF: If there are any problems, click here to download the file.

DISCLAIMER: Because of the generality of this update, the information provided herein may not be applicable in all situations and should not be acted upon without specific legal advice based on particular situations.

© Low, Ball & Lynch | Attorney Advertising

Written by:


Low, Ball & Lynch on:

Readers' Choice 2017
Reporters on Deadline

"My best business intelligence, in one easy email…"

Your first step to building a free, personalized, morning email brief covering pertinent authors and topics on JD Supra:

Sign up to create your digest using LinkedIn*

*By using the service, you signify your acceptance of JD Supra's Privacy Policy.

Already signed up? Log in here

*With LinkedIn, you don't need to create a separate login to manage your free JD Supra account, and we can make suggestions based on your needs and interests. We will not post anything on LinkedIn in your name. Or, sign up using your email address.