Law of Torts - Damage to Property

Basic principle is Restitution in Intergrem

Total Destruction of Property
1. If the property is totally destroyed, P can claim the value at the time and place of the destruction or market price prevailing at the date of the destruction.

2. Consequential Damage – P also can claim consequential damage ie reasonable cost of hire a substitute until a replacement can be bought.

3. Loss of Business Profits – If P was using the property in the course of his business he can claim loss of business profits.
Liesbosch Dredger v SS Eddison - - P’s dredger during used in a project sunk due to D’s negligence. Court awarded:-
i. market price of a comparative dredger.
ii. the cost of adapting the new dredger and transporting to the site.
iii. compensation for disturbance in the carrying out of their contract till the new dredge could have reasonably available.

Damage to Property
If the property suffers only normal damage then P can claim for:

A. Cost of Repair
Dodd Properties Ltd v Canterbury City Council - - It is immaterial whether after repair the value of property goes up or not. If cost of repair higher than total value, only actual value can be recovered.

B. Loss of Use
P can also claim for loss of use if P was deprived from using due to time taken for repair.
Note : even if P was using it for pleasure, he is still entitle.
Assessment: Cost of a hire reasonable substitute. If not general damage awarded.

Mitigation of Damage
Applicable to both damages of Person & Property.
P must take reasonable steps on his part to avoid further any further loss. For example if P injured and he needs surgery but he refuse to it. Here P must proof it was reasonable for him to refuse.

The court must draw a balance between the act of P causing greater expenses to D and the act of D causing difficulties to P.

Tan Jie Hoo v Lian Soon Hing Shipping Co - - P suffered leg injuries due to accident. But mid way before trial he is able to do job. It was held that it is the duty of P to mitigate loss. Loss of earning awarded from date of accident till August 1985 not date of trial.

Tan Lian Heng v Kilang Papan Aman Sdn Bhd - - P Had tried to mitigate loss by looking for jobs but could not get. It was justified.

Lee Tai Hoo & Anor v Lee Swee Keat - - D drove a lorry negligently collided to P’s shop houses. It was damage severely. D admits his negligent. P did not repair until the day of judgment. It was held that:
i. paramount consideration is what the reasonable step taken by P to mitigate loss. If mitigation loss might cause detriment to P and his avoidance is significant.
ii. if mitigate is beyond P’s means then justified.
iii. in fact she did submit the plan and rejected is justified.
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