The decision in People v Sanchez is being felt “big time” in California civil litigation because testimony cannot rely on types of data collection as evidence.

The decision in People v Sanchez, the California Supreme Court limits an expert’s ability to rely on hearsay to provide case-specific facts for which a witness has no personal knowledge, as there is no exception to the hearsay exception rule. Although Sanchez was a criminal case, the effect is being felt “big time” in California civil litigation because testimony from life care planners cannot rely on the tenants of life care planning that provides for a systematic means of data collection to be offered as evidence regarding the cost of goods and services for future care, as that evidence is now considered hearsay. The result of Sanchez is that testimony that relies on evidence from pricing databases and calls to vendors for the cost of medical goods and services is being struck by Defendant and Plaintiff attorneys in California as hearsay.

In Verci v. High, et al, an Illinois case, a ruling from the Court of Appeals rejected a life care planner’s testimony that was based on data obtained from the FAIR Health database because the Court found that it is derived from “an unknown number of insurance companies and is used to set reimbursement rates, not to determine the reasonableness of medical charges.”

“Illinois is taking the next step toward Sanchez as it is placing life care planner’s testimony based on databases in peril…” – Dr. Greg Vigna

Dr. Greg Vigna, MD, JD, practicing physician in Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, Certified Life Care Planner, and national pharmaceutical injury attorney, explains that “Illinois is taking the next step toward Sanchez as it is placing life care planner’s testimony based on databases in peril as this data is essentially hearsay and the reliability of a databases widely used by life care planners cannot be relied upon as these databases are hearsay. Although the decision appears to bless the practice of life care planners to obtain costing data obtained from calls to vendors of medical goods and services in the community where the injured person resides, that practice too is hearsay without an exception if challenged.”

California Evidence Code requires that an expert base their opinion on their ‘knowledge, skill, experience, education, and training.’ In addition, California Evidence Code allow an expert to ‘state on direct examination the reasons for his opinion, unless precluded by law from using such reasons.’

Dr. Greg Vigna is the owner of Academic Physician Life Care Planning, LLC and is a practicing physician. He provides testimony of cost of goods and services based on his independent skill, knowledge, experience, and training using the traditional tenants of life care planning as it relates to data collection as confirmatory. Dr. Vigna adds, “Sanchez is a huge problem for Defense and Plaintiff Attorneys. Dr. Vigna has reduced this burden in time and expense to zero.”

For more information, visit https://aplifecareplanning.com.

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