WPI30.08.01Measure of Economic Damages—Elements of Past Damages—Loss of Earnings—Adult Plaintif...
6 WAPRAC WPI 30.08.01Washington Practice Series TMWashington Pattern Jury Instructions--Civil
6 Wash. Prac., Wash. Pattern Jury Instr. Civ. WPI 30.08.01 (7th ed.)
Washington Practice Series TM
Washington Pattern Jury Instructions--Civil
July 2019 Update
Part IV. Damages
Chapter 30. Personal and Property Damages
WPI 30.08.01 Measure of Economic Damages—Elements of Past Damages—Loss of Earnings—Adult Plaintiff, Emancipated Minor, or Minor Whose Parent Has Waived Wage Claim
The reasonable value of [earnings] [earning capacity] [employment] [salaries] [business opportunities] [employment opportunities] lost to the present time.
NOTE ON USE
Insert this phrase as an element of past economic damages in the damage instruction (WPI 30.01.01, WPI 30.02.01, or WPI 30.03.01) if the evidence justifies its use.
Care must be exercised to distinguish between lost earnings and lost earning capacity in order to avoid erroneous duplication of elements. See the Comment below.
Use bracketed material as applicable.
The statute defines economic damages in part as objectively verifiable monetary losses, including loss of earnings, loss of employment, and loss of business or employment opportunities.
This instruction includes the bracketed words “earning capacity,” which do not appear in the statute. It has not been conclusively determined whether monetary losses other than those listed in RCW 4.56.250(1)(a) may be considered in awarding economic damages. RCW 4.56.250(1)(a) defines economic damages as “including” a list of objectively verifiable monetary losses, while the following subsection of the statute, RCW 4.56.250(1)(b) defines noneconomic damages as “including, but not limited to” a list of subjective, nonmonetary losses. The WPI Committee concluded the Legislature did not intend the listing in RCW 4.56.250(1)(a) to be exclusive and that lost earning capacity should be included in this instruction because of the case law support for such damages. See the cases cited below in this Comment. For a general discussion of economic damages, see the Comment to WPI 30.01.02 (Economic Damages—Definition).
Impairment of earning capacity is different from loss of wages. It is the permanent diminution of the ability to earn money. Murray v. Mossman, 52 Wn.2d 885, 889, 329 P.2d 1089 (1958).
Loss of earning capacity is a proper element of damages for a three-year-old child who lost an arm between the elbow and the shoulder. Sherman v. City of Seattle, 57 Wn.2d 233, 245–46, 356 P.2d 316 (1960). Loss of earning capacity is also a proper element of damages for a man seventy-one years of age and unemployed. Riddel v. Lyon, 124 Wash. 146, 150–51, 213 P. 487 (1923).
Reference to profits of a small business is proper if the evidence is directed to the element of impaired earning capacity. Kennard v. Kaelin, 58 Wn.2d 524, 525–26, 364 P.2d 446 (1961). See also Ytreberg, Annotation, Sufficiency of Evidence in Personal Injury Action to Prove Impairment of Earning Capacity and to Warrant Instructions to Jury Thereon, 18 A.L.R.3d 88 (1968); Puryer, Annotation, Profits of Business as Factor in Determining Loss of Earnings or Earning Capacity in Action for Personal Injury or Death, 45 A.L.R.3d 345 (1972); Peck and Hopkins, Economics and Impaired Earning Capacity in Personal Injury Cases, 44 Wash.L.Rev. 351 (1969).
[Current as of September 2018.]
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