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WPI 155.25 Injury to Particular Worker

6A WAPRAC WPI 155.25Washington Practice Series TMWashington Pattern Jury Instructions--Civil

6A Wash. Prac., Wash. Pattern Jury Instr. Civ. WPI 155.25 (7th ed.)
Washington Practice Series TM
Washington Pattern Jury Instructions--Civil
April 2022 Update
Washington State Supreme Court Committee on Jury Instructions
Part XI. Workers' Compensation
Chapter 155. Workers' Compensation
WPI 155.25 Injury to Particular Worker
The Industrial Insurance Act applies to all persons covered by its provisions regardless of their age or the previous condition of their health.
In determining the effect of an occurrence upon a worker, such effect must always be determined with reference to the particular worker involved, rather than on the effect, if any, it would have had upon some other person.
This instruction will commonly be given to the jury regarding the significance of a worker's age, health, or the presence of a medical or psychological susceptibility or condition. This instruction is intended to be used in conjunction with the appropriate proximate cause instruction pertinent to the case. See WPI 155.06 (Proximate Cause—Allowed Claim) et seq.
This instruction advises jurors to focus on the particular claimant with all of his or her individual attributes, including any susceptibility to the type of disability that may be at issue. It is related to, but different from, the two instructions that deal with the lighting up or the exacerbation of a pre-existing condition, WPI 155.20 and WPI 155.21. Each of these related principles is embodied in the fundamental notion that the Industrial Insurance Act takes the worker as one finds him or her, and bears responsibility for the manner and degree in which any industrial injury or occupational disease manifests itself on that individual. It is not uncommon that the circumstances of the case call for instructions on both principles.
Among the cases most often cited for these propositions are Groff v. Department of Labor and Industries, 65 Wn.2d 35, 44, 395 P.2d 633 (1964) (“industry takes the workman as he is”), Kallos v. Department of Labor and Industries, 46 Wn.2d 26, 278 P.2d 393 (1955) (“benefits are not limited to those in perfect health”), and Miller v. Department of Labor and Industries, 200 Wash. 674, 94 P.2d 764 (1939).
In Miller, the court had before it a longshoreman claimant with a permanent partial disability resulting from a serious back injury coupled with a previously unknown congenital weakness of the back. The court first discussed the established principle that when an industrial injury lights up a “weakened physical condition occasioned by disease,” the resultant disability is to be “attributed to the injury, and not to the preexisting physical condition.” Miller, 200 Wash at 682. The court then observed:
If this be true with respect to a weakened physical condition resulting from disease, it must likewise be true with respect to a similar infirmity resulting from some structural weakness of the body. As we have many times stated, the provisions of the workmen's compensation act are not limited in their benefits to such persons only as approximate physical perfection, for few, if any, workmen are completely free from latent infirmities originating either in disease or in some congenital abnormality. It is a fundamental principle which most, if not all, courts accept, that if 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; the theory upon which that principle is founded is that the workman's prior physical condition is not deemed the cause of the injury, but merely a condition upon which the real cause operated.
Miller, 200 Wash at 682–83.
[Current as of October 2021.]
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