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WPI 30.01.01 Measure of Economic and Noneconomic Damages—Personal Injury—No Contributory Neglig...

6 WAPRAC WPI 30.01.01Washington Practice Series TMWashington Pattern Jury Instructions--Civil

6 Wash. Prac., Wash. Pattern Jury Instr. Civ. WPI 30.01.01 (7th ed.)
Washington Practice Series TM
Washington Pattern Jury Instructions--Civil
April 2022 Update
Washington State Supreme Court Committee on Jury Instructions
Part IV. Damages
Chapter 30. Personal and Property Damages
WPI 30.01.01 Measure of Economic and Noneconomic Damages—Personal Injury—No Contributory Negligence
It is the duty of the court to instruct you as to the measure of damages. [By instructing you on damages the court does not mean to suggest for which party your verdict should be rendered.
If your verdict is for the plaintiff, then] you must determine the amount of money that will reasonably and fairly compensate the plaintiff for such damages as you find were proximately caused by the negligence of the defendant.
[If you find for the plaintiff] [your verdict must include the following undisputed items:
(here insert undisputed past economic damage amounts)
In addition] you should consider the following past economic damages elements:
(here insert appropriate elements from among phrases WPI 30.07.01, WPI 30.08.01, WPI 30.09.01, and WPI 30.10– .16)
In addition you should consider the following future economic damages elements:
(here insert appropriate elements from among phrases WPI 30.07.02, WPI 30.08.02, and WPI 30.09.02)
In addition you should consider the following noneconomic damages elements:
(here insert appropriate elements from among phrases WPI 30.04– .06)
The burden of proving damages rests upon the plaintiff. It is for you to determine, based upon the evidence, whether any particular element has been proved by a preponderance of the evidence.
Your award must be based upon evidence and not upon speculation, guess, or conjecture.
The law has not furnished us with any fixed standards by which to measure noneconomic damages. With reference to these matters you must be governed by your own judgment, by the evidence in the case, and by these instructions.
See WPI Chapter 45 (Forms of Verdicts) for the appropriate verdict forms to be used with this instruction.
Use this instruction if there is no counterclaim and no issue of contributory negligence. Use WPI 30.02.01 (Measure of Economic and Noneconomic Damages—Personal Injury—Contributory Negligence—No Counterclaim) if there is an issue of contributory negligence.
Complete this instruction by inserting the appropriate elements of damages as directed in the instruction. The phrases inserted should reflect those elements of damages relevant to the action.
Delete the first two bracketed phrases of this instruction if there is a directed verdict or admitted liability. Use the third bracketed phrase if there are undisputed items of damages. If any of the bracketed phrases are deleted, practitioners may need to capitalize the first word that follows the deleted phrase.
In a case involving wanton misconduct, gross negligence, outrageous conduct, strict liability, or nuisance, substitute the particular term or term “wrongful conduct” for “negligence.”
If a cross-claim or third-party claim is asserted, the text of the instruction must be modified or WPI 41.05 (Counterclaim—Cross-Claim—Third-Party Claim) must be used, or both.
RCW 4.56.250.
Undisputed damages. In response to case law, the instruction states that jurors “must include” (rather than “should include”) undisputed damages in their verdict. See Nichols v. Lackie, 58 Wn.App. 904, 907, 795 P.2d 722 (1990) (jury failed to award the correct amount for undisputed special damages that were set forth in a damage instruction stating that the verdict “should include” designated special damage amounts). Jurors do not have discretion with respect to these items. Hawkins v. Marshall, 92 Wn.App. 38, 45, 962 P.2d 834 (1998); Nichols, 58 Wn.App. at 907.
Apportioning damages. The burden of proving the apportionment of damages between two negligent defendants rests with the defendants: “[O]nce a plaintiff has proved that each successive negligent defendant has caused some damage, the burden of proving allocation of those damages among themselves is upon the defendants; if the jury find[s] that the harm is indivisible, then the defendants are jointly and severally liable for the entire harm.” Cox v. Spangler, 141 Wn.2d 431, 443, 5 P.3d 1265 (2000); Phennah v. Whalen, 28 Wn.App. 19, 29, 621 P.2d 1304 (1980). For further discussion of apportioning damages, see WPI 41.04 (Fault to Be Apportioned).
Married co-plaintiffs. If there is a claim of injury by a married person, and the other spouse is joined as a plaintiff, the damage instruction and verdict forms should address the problem raised by Brown v. Brown, 100 Wn.2d 729, 675 P.2d 1207 (1984). Brown holds that recovery for an injury to a married person is the separate property of the injured spouse, except to the extent that the recovery compensates for lost wages that would have been community property, or an injury-related expense incurred. Brown, 100 Wn.2d at 730. Brown overruled the former case law that an injury recovery by a spouse is community property. Brown, 100 Wn.2d at 739. In order to properly reflect the law, the judgment for a particular item of tort recovery should be entered in favor of the spouse who owns that item of recovery or in favor of both as the case may be. Use of WPI 45.01 (General Verdict Forms—Single Plaintiff and Defendant) as though the marital community were a single plaintiff will no longer be sufficient. It may be necessary to set forth in WPI 30.01.01 the items of damage claimed by each spouse. The verdict form should direct the jury to make separate awards for the different items of damage involved so that proper judgments may be entered.
[Current as of April 2021.]
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