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WPI 2.13 Insurance and Collateral Sources

6 WAPRAC WPI 2.13Washington Practice Series TMWashington Pattern Jury Instructions--Civil

6 Wash. Prac., Wash. Pattern Jury Instr. Civ. WPI 2.13 (7th ed.)
Washington Practice Series TM
Washington Pattern Jury Instructions--Civil
April 2022 Update
Washington State Supreme Court Committee on Jury Instructions
Part I. General Instructions
Chapter 2. Credibility of Witnesses, Weight of Testimony, and Other Evidence
WPI 2.13 Insurance and Collateral Sources
Whether or not a party has insurance, or any other source of recovery available, has no bearing on any issue that you must decide. You must not speculate about whether a party has insurance or other coverage or sources of available funds. You are not to make or decline to make any award, or increase or decrease any award, because you believe that a party may have medical insurance, liability insurance, workers' compensation, or some other form of compensation available. Even if there is insurance or other funding available to a party, the question of who pays or who reimburses whom would be decided in a different proceeding. Therefore, in your deliberations, do not discuss any matters such as insurance coverage or other possible sources of funding for any party. You are to consider only those questions that are given to you to decide in this case.
The WPI Committee recommends this instruction be used when the court is concerned that jurors may speculate about insurance or other funding.
Do not use this instruction if the existence of insurance relates to an issue in the case or if evidence of insurance has been admitted for any reason. In such a case, a limiting instruction may be drafted by incorporating parts of this WPI 2.13 into the general language of WPI 1.06 (Evidence for Limited Purpose).
For medical malpractice cases, the instruction will need to be modified because the collateral source rule is different in that context. See RCW 7.70.080.
Insurance. ER 411 provides:
Evidence that a person was or was not insured against liability is not admissible upon the issue whether the person acted negligently or otherwise wrongfully. This rule does not require the exclusion of evidence of insurance against liability when offered for another purpose, such as proof of agency, ownership, or control, or bias or prejudice of a witness.
For a discussion of the cases interpreting ER 411, see Tegland, 5A Washington Practice, Evidence Law and Practice §§ 411.1 et seq. (6th ed.). When insurance has been mentioned in violation of ER 411, the proper remedy often depends on whether the violation was deliberate or inadvertent. See the discussion in Tegland, 5A Washington Practice, Evidence Law and Practice § 411.2 (6th ed.).
Other sources of recovery. The instruction's application to sources of recovery other than insurance is based on the collateral source rule.
The collateral source rule is an evidentiary principle that enables an injured party to recover compensatory damages from a tortfeaser without regard to payments the injured party received from a source independent of a tortfeaser. Johnson v. Weyerhaeuser Co., 134 Wash.2d 795, 798, 953 P.2d 800 (1998). The rule comes from tort principles as a means of ensuring that a fact finder will not reduce a defendant's liability because the claimant received money from other sources, such as insurance carriers.
Mazon v. Krafchick, 158 Wn.2d 440, 452, 144 P.3d 1168 (2006).
Medical malpractice cases. In a medical malpractice case, if collateral source evidence is presented per RCW 7.70.080, a limiting instruction should be crafted with a view to meeting the specific concerns expressed in Flyte v. Summit View Clinic, 183 Wn.App. 559, 333 P.3d 566 (2014).
[Current as of September 2018.]
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