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WPI155.13.01Testimony of Attending Physician

6A WAPRAC WPI 155.13.01Washington Practice Series TMWashington Pattern Jury Instructions--Civil

6A Wash. Prac., Wash. Pattern Jury Instr. Civ. WPI 155.13.01 (7th ed.)
Washington Practice Series TM
Washington Pattern Jury Instructions--Civil
July 2019 Update
Washington State Supreme Court Committee on Jury Instructions
Part XI. Workers' Compensation
Chapter 155. Workers' Compensation
WPI 155.13.01 Testimony of Attending Physician
You should give special consideration to testimony given by an attending physician. Such special consideration does not require you to give greater weight or credibility to, or to believe or disbelieve, such testimony. It does require that you give any such testimony careful thought in your deliberations.
This instruction must be used when an attending physician testifies. See Comment. Use in conjunction with WPI 155.01 (Conclusion of Trial—Introductory Instruction) and WPI 2.10 (Expert Testimony).
In Hamilton v. Dep't of Labor & Indus., 111 Wn.2d 569, 761 P.2d 618 (1988), the Washington Supreme Court held that the following instruction given by the trial court did not constitute an unconstitutional comment on the evidence: “In cases under the Industrial Insurance Act of the State of Washington, special consideration should be given to the opinion of the plaintiff's attending physician.” The court found that this instruction did not give the personal opinion of the trial judge and that it embodied a long-standing rule of law in workers' compensation cases that special consideration should be given to the opinion of a claimant's attending physician.
In Clark County v. McManus, 185 Wn.2d 466, 372 P.3d 764 (2016), the court squarely held that use of this instruction is mandatory in workers' compensation cases when an attending physician testifies. It rejected Court of Appeals decisions suggesting otherwise. After discussing the case of Boeing Co. v. Harker-Lott, 93 Wn.App. 181, 968 P.2d 14 (1998) (which it described as “somewhat unique”) the Supreme Court noted that some trial court discretion remained “in those instances where the instruction cannot be given, such as where there are multiple attending physicians offering conflicting testimony.” Clark County v. McManus, 185 Wn.2d at 476 n.4.
For various types of “attending physician,” see WAC 296-20-01002 (“Doctor or attending doctor”).
[Current as of November 2016.]
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