Landmark personal-injury-damages decision; $3.6 million judgment affirmed

Pebley v. Santa Clara Organics, LLC (2018) 22 Cal.App.5th 1266 [232 Cal.Rptr.3d 404], review denied (Aug. 8, 2018)
Obtained affirmance of $3.6 million personal-injury award to plaintiff. Holds that injured plaintiff’s recovery of medical expenses is not limited to what the plaintiff’s insurer would have paid if the plaintiff had received care through insurance instead of from medical providers working on a lien. Rather, for the purposes of proving medical expenses at trial, a plaintiff who does not treat through his/her insurance should be considered “non-insured” and treated as if uninsured. The court rejected the defense argument that medical charges from providers who treat on a lien are inherently excessive because they exceed what health insurers would pay their preferred providers for similar treatment. In the Supreme Court, the defense bar and insurance industry filed over 20 amicus requests seeking review or depublication of the decision. The Supreme Court denied review and left the opinion published.