Washington Law Review


In Siragusa v. Swedish Hospital the Washington Supreme Court abolished the assumption of risk defense in suits brought by employees against their employers. Overruling prior decisions that were inconsistent, the court held that an employer has a duty to exercise reasonable care to provide his employees with a reasonably safe place to work, and may not assert as a defense to an action based on his breach of that duty, that the injured employee was aware or should have known of the negligently maintained condition. The court adopted the position of the Missouri and North Carolina courts that the employee never assumes the risks arising from the employer's negligence, but only those which remain after the master has exercised ordinary care.

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