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WPI155.20Lighting Up of Pre-Existing, Asymptomatic Condition

6A WAPRAC WPI 155.20Washington Practice Series TMWashington Pattern Jury Instructions--Civil

6A Wash. Prac., Wash. Pattern Jury Instr. Civ. WPI 155.20 (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 155.20 Lighting Up of Pre-Existing, Asymptomatic Condition
If you find that:
(1) before the [industrial injury] [occupational disease],(worker's name)had a [bodily] [mental] condition that was not disabling or requiring treatment; and
(2) because of the [industrial injury] [occupational disease] the pre-existing condition was lighted up or made active;
then(worker's name)is eligible for benefits for [his] [her] [full disability] [need for treatment] even though(worker's name)'s [disability] [need for treatment] may be greater than it would have been for a person in the same circumstances without that pre-existing condition.
[A worker may not be eligible for benefits, however, for any treatment or disabilities that resulted from the natural progression of the pre-existing condition independent of this [industrial injury] [occupational disease].]
NOTE ON USE
Use bracketed material as applicable.
Use this instruction for a pre-existing condition that was not disabling or requiring treatment before the industrial injury or occupational disease on which the claim is based. When the evidence is disputed as to the existence of such pre-existing treatment or disability, use both this instruction and WPI 155.21 (Worsening of Pre-Existing, Symptomatic Condition).
Use the last bracketed sentence only if the evidence would support a finding that some of the disability resulted from the natural progression of the condition even without the industrial injury or work exposure.
COMMENT
This instruction was first published in the 2017-2018 Supplement to 6 Washington Practice, Washington Pattern Jury Instructions: Civil (6th ed.).
This instruction deals with proximate cause. It should be given when, although there is evidence of a pre-existing condition, there is no evidence that the pre-existing condition was causing any disability or required treatment before the industrial injury occurred or the occupational disease arose.
Miller v. Dep't of Labor & Indus., 200 Wash. 674, 682–83, 94 P.2d 764 (1939), first established that a worker may recover benefits for the full disability caused by an industrial injury or occupational disease, even though the worker has a pre-existing non-work-related condition:
[I]f an injury, within the statutory meaning, lights up or makes active a latent or quiescent infirmity or weakened physical condition occasioned by disease, then the resulting disability is to be attributed to the injury, and not to the preexisting physical condition …
[I]f the accident or injury complained of is the proximate cause of the disability for which compensation is sought, the previous physical condition of the workman is immaterial and recovery may be had for the full disability independent of any preexisting or congenital weakness …
See also Dennis v. Dep't of Labor & Indus., 109 Wn.2d 467, 474, 745 P.2d 1295 (1987); Jacobson v. Dep't of Labor & Indus., 37 Wn.2d 444, 448, 224 P.2d 338 (1950); Simpson Timber Co. v. Wentworth, 96 Wn.App. 731, 739, 981 P.2d 878 (1999); McDonagh v. Dep't of Labor & Indus., 68 Wn.App. 749, 845 P.2d 1030 (1993); Wendt v. Dep't of Labor & Indus., 18 Wn.App. 674, 571 P.2d 229 (1977).
A pre-existing condition may “naturally progress” on its own thus bringing about a disability or death not covered by workers' compensation benefits. In a case in which there is medical testimony that an industrial injury or occupational disease proximately caused this otherwise natural progression to accelerate, additional instruction to the jury on this point is recommended. Cases mentioning such “acceleration” are Mork v. Dep't of Labor & Indus., 48 Wn.2d 74, 76–77 (1956); Harbor Plywood v. Dep't of Labor & Indus., 48 Wn.2d 553, 556, 295 P.2d 310 (1956); Barkhurst v. Dep't of Labor & Indus., 150 Wash. 551, 272 P.105 (1935); Shadbolt v. Dep't of Labor & Indus., 121 Wash. 409, 412, 209 P.683 (1922).
[Current as of November 2016.]
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