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Instruction Wording Cases Summarized By Injury Attorney

This page within Virginia Tort Case Law is a compilation of cases reported by the Virginia Supreme Court and summarized by Brien Roche dealing with the topic of Instruction Wording and the related topic of personal injury. For more information on jury instructions see the pages on Wikipedia.

Instruction Wording-Cases

2004 Russ v. Destival, 267 Va. 458, 593 S.E.2d 201.

Bicycle accident. Court improperly instructed the jury by changing the wording of the statute and adding the word “close” so as to state that the bicyclist had to refrain from entering or crossing an intersection in disregard of close or approaching traffic. This is an incorrect statement of the law since the statute does not contain the word “close.”

2003 Honsinger v. Egan, 266 Va. 269, 585 S.E.2d 597.

Defendant offered jury instructions on damages that called for proof, based upon reasonable degree of medical certainty. That is incorrect standard. Burden is on parties to furnish trial court with proper and appropriate instructions that address their theory of the case. When instruction is not a correct statement of the law or is not supported by the evidence, the trial court is not required to correct or amend the instruction.

1995 Clohessy v. Weiler, 250 Va. 249, 462 S.E.2d 94.

Court gave standard instruction on proximate cause and then endeavored to further explain remote cause, citing language from Supreme Court decision. Court emphasized danger of indiscriminate use of language from appellate opinions in jury instructions.

1987 Richmond Newspapers v. Lipscomb, 234 Va. 277, 362 S.E.2d 32.

Defamation case. No duty upon trial court to segregate potentially defamatory from nondefamatory material in instruction. Likewise in contract case no duty to segregate parol from nonparol evidence in instructions.

1987 Gaalaas v. Morrison, 233 Va. 148, 353 S.E.2d 898.

Instructions should not be confusing or subject to misunderstanding. Instruction in this medical malpractice case was confusing because it is unclear whether all of plaintiff’s injuries are being grouped as one.

1982 Teh Len Chu v. Fairfax Emergency Med. Assocs., 223 Va. 383, 290 S.E.2d 820.

Physician must exercise best judgment in application of his skill and in use of ordinary care. Terms “honest mistake” and “bona fide error” have no place in instructions to jury in malpractice cases.

1971 Bagley v. Weaver, 211 Va. 779, 180 S.E.2d 686.

Court condemned granting of multiple instructions and those that are repetitious. Such action can only confuse and mislead jury.

1967 Roberts v. Mundy, 208 Va. 236, 156 S.E.2d 593.

Not error to describe alleged acts to jury and to state they are negligent.

1967 Redd v. Ingram, 207 Va. 939, 154 S.E.2d 149.

Giving of conflicting and inconsistent instructions is error unless it plainly appears from record that jury could not have been misled by them.

1963 Atwell v. Watson, 204 Va. 624, 133 S.E.2d 552.

Instruction wording which is confusing, argumentative, long and merely attempts to have court agree with that party’s theory of case should be refused.

1963 Spiegelman v. Birch, 204 Va. 96, 129 S.E.2d 119.

Instruction wording should not be argumentative. Language of Supreme Court opinion is not always appropriate in instruction.

1962 Miller Trucking Co. v. Flood, 203 Va. 934, 128 S.E.2d 437.

Generally instructions should be read as whole. This is not applicable when one is in direct conflict with another. Mere fact that plaintiff has theory of case does not mean that he is entitled to instruction. There must be evidence to support theory. Instruction wording using term “simple negligence” is error since it puts undue emphasis on degree of negligence.

1960 Gabbard v. Knight, 202 Va. 40, 116 S.E.2d 73.

Giving of inconsistent instructions is error unless it is clear that jury could not have been misled.

1958 Tolston v. Reeves, 200 Va. 179, 104 S.E.2d 754.

Error in instruction wording not amounting to positive misstatement of law can be cured by clear, definite and correct statement upon same subject in another instruction.

1950 Davis v. Webb, 190 Va. 997, 59 S.E.2d 116.

Improper to instruct jury on physical facts as to speed of car to exclusion of other testimony bearing on speed of car.

1950 Oliver v. Forsyth, 190 Va. 710, 58 S.E.2d 49.

Where statute requires that certain action be taken in safety, such language should be qualified if used in instruction so as to read that reasonable and ordinary care should be used. When there is question of fact for jury, then instruction must not be peremptory.

1949 Overton v. Slaughter, 190 Va. 172, 56 S.E.2d 358.

Simply because statement is made by Supreme Court in opinion does not mean that that language can be inserted into instruction with approval of court.

1948 Smith v. Clark, 187 Va. 181, 46 S.E.2d 21.

Instruction wording saying movement of automobile must be made in safety must be qualified with language relieving driver of burden of being insurer.

1948 Voght v. Reber, 187 Va. 157, 46 S.E.2d 15.

Instruction wording properly refused where it stated two correct propositions but they were illogically arranged.

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Instruction Wording Cases Summarized By Injury Attorney

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