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Damage As A Constituent Of Tort Law

A study on concepts, techniques, provisions, case and solutions

Submitted to: Harish Salve Submitted by: Inzmamul Haque Student, Ist year, Ist semester,Roll-933

Chanakya National Law University

Table Of Contents
Chapter Page No



Research Methodology--------------------------------------

Objective -------------------------------------------------------

Damages In Various Thing------------------------------------

Proof Of Loss And Damage-----------------------------------

Legal Maxim Related To Damage----------------------------

Types Of Damage In Tort-------------------------------------

Quantum Of Damage-------------------------------------------



I am feeling highly elated to work on the topic Damage As A Constituent Of Tort Law under the guidance of my law of torts teacher Harishchandra Eknath Salve. I am very grateful to him for his exemplary guidance. I would like to enlighten my readers regarding this topic and I hope I have tried my best to pave the way for bringing more luminosity to this topic. I also want to thank all of my friends, without whose cooperation this project was not possible. Apart from all these, I want to give special thanks to the librarian of my university who made every relevant materials regarding to my topic available to me at the time of my busy research work and gave me assistance. And at last I am very much obliged to the God who provided me the potential for the rigorous research work. At finally yet importantly I would like to thank my parents for the financial support.

-----------------Thanking You

The word tort is of French origin and is equivalent of the English word wrong, and the Roman law term delict. It is derived from the Latin word tortum, which means twisted or crooked. It implies conduct that is twisted or crooked. It is commonly used to mean a breach of duty amounting to a civil wrong. Of the various attempts to define tort, Salmond's definition is rather popular. Salmond defines tort as a civil wrong for which the remedy is a common law action for unliquidated damages and which is not exclusively the breach of a contract or the breach of a trust or other merely equitable obligation. A tort arises due to a persons duty to others in generally which is created by one law or the other. A person who commits a tort is known as a tort feaser, or a wrongdoer. Where they are more than one, they are called joint tort feaser. Their wrongdoing is called tortuous act and they are liable to be sued jointly and severally. The principle aim of the Law of tort is compensation of victims or their dependants. Grants of exemplary damages in certain cases will show that deterrence of wrong doers is also another aim of the law of tort. The sum of money awarded by court to compensate damage is called damages. Damage means the loss or harm caused or presumed to be suffered by a person as a result of some wrongful act of another. Legal damage is not the same as actual damage. Every infringement of the plaintiffs private right or unauthorized interference with his property gives rise to legal damage. There must be violation of a legal right in cases of tort. Every absolute right, injury or wrong i.e. tortuous act is complete the moment the right is violated irrespective of whether it is accompanied by an actual damage. In case of qualified right, the injury or wrong is not complete unless the violation of the right results in actual or special damage. Every injury, thus imports damage, though may not have cost the victim a penny, but simply by hindering the right, as an action for a slanderous word, though a man does not lose a penny by speaking them yet he shall have an action. Likewise a man shall have an action against him who rides over his ground, though it does him no damage, for it is an invasion of his property and the other trespasser has no right to come there. In the tort law, the financial suffered by a victim are known as damages. The financial compensations that tort law awards to victimsthe financial compensation that tort law

obligates the person who committed the tort to payis also known as damages. The person who committed the tort is said to be liable for those damages.1 In a suit for damages in a tort case, the court awards pecuniary compensation (related to money) to the plaintiff for the injury or damage caused to him by the wrongful act of the defendant. When the wrongful act committed by the defendant is proved then plaintiff would be entitled to compensation, may be nominal

Any person who is deprived of exercising activities of ownership through court or any other person, will be entitled to such damages as are necessary and bona fide.2 Damages is the most important remedy which the plaintiff can avail of the tort is committed. For compensation of damage the sum of money awarded by court is called as damages. Damage is the loss or harm caused and presumed to be suffered by any person due to the omission of any wrongful act done by another person. Legal damage is not as exact as actual damage. Every infringement of plaintiffs right or unauthorized interference to his property lead to legal damage. In case of tort cases there must be violation of legal right. In case of qualified right, the injury or wrong is not complete unless the violation of the right results in actual or special damage. Every injury, thus imports damage, though may not have cost the victim a penny, but simply by hindering the right, as an action for a slanderous word, though a man does not lose a penny by speaking them yet he shall have an action. 3

Objectives:1. To determine the rights between parties to a dispute. 2. To prevent the continuation or repetition of harm e.g. by giving orders of injunction. 3. To protect certain right recognized by law. 4. To restore property to its rightful owner.

Damages, http://www.spurgeon-tinker.com/newsletters/personal-injury/tort-law-compensation-fordamages/, accessed on 08/10/2013 at 01:41 IST

2 3

Dr.R.K.Bangia, Law of torts, 491(2012) Anonymous, http://www.scribd.com/doc/122160715/DAMAGE-AS-A-CONSTITUENT-OF-TORT-LAW, accessed on 20-10-2013, 18:28 IST

Research Methodology:For the purpose of research the researcher has relied on primary sources to look for information relating to laws and statutes relating to Damage as a constituent of tort law. The researcher has aimed at doctrinal research and tries to critically analyse and provide an unbiased account. Researcher has used various books, journals and online websites for gathering required information used in research.

Damages In Various Thing:1) Damages in contractA contract is the agreement between two or more parties, either individuals or companies with the consent of both parties. If one party does not follow their part of the contract, then they maybe liable to pay damages to the other. The aim of damages in contract law is toplace the innocent party in the position which he or she would have been in if thecontract had been followed. Damages in contract law will often be liquidateddamages, that is, the amount of loss is capable of being calculated 2) Damages in TortA tort is a civil wrong done by one party to another. An example of a tort is defamation, where one person makes false comments or statements about another person. In this instance, money will be awarded to the second person to compensate them for the harm done to their reputation. As in contract, damages in tort are awarded to place the plaintiff in the position in which he or she would have been had the tort not been committed. A claim in tort gives rise to unliquidated damages; the worth of the damage can only be estimated, not calculated exactly.

Proof of loss and damage:In order to be given damage, the plaintiff will have to prove that he or she has suffered a damage or loss which was result of breach of contract or the wrong committed by the defendant. It would be proved by jury that the plaintiff claimed about happened was actually happen and regarding this the plaintiff can also present medical bills and receipts or many type of legal documentation for proving the plaintiffs claim.

Loss is damage, detriment, or suffering flowing from the act or omission of another. It is once this loss occurs that an action for damages or compensation can be brought. A common example of loss is that arising in personal injury cases. If you have suffered an injury that prevents you from working, then you may have suffered a loss of income. If you win your case and prove that you have not received income for a certain time period, then you will be entitled to compensation for your loss.4 A case related to loss

Cattle v Stockton Waterworks Co. C contracted to build tunnel under an embankment for a Mr. X- D negligently caused flood to the embankment and the surrounding land belonging to Mr. X this disrupted C work and suffered a loss of profit in the performance of his work for Mr. X C sued D. Court disallowed the claim for being a pure economic loss.

Injury can mean physical or mental damage to a person. This type of injury can include the aggravation, acceleration or recurrence of a pre-existing injury, prenatal injury, psychological or psychiatric injury, damage to crutches or aids of a similar nature, nervous shock, death resulting from injuries and disease. In the case of mental injury, the injury must be serious enough to amount to an identifiable psychiatric injury merely being upset will not be enough to have a claim for damages. Injury can also mean interference with a legal right, which will often be considered as having a monetary value, but does not require proof of damage. An example of this could be trespass to land, where the trespasser does not otherwise cause any damage. Injury can also mean physical damage to goods or property.

Anonymous, http://www.scribd.com/doc/122160715/DAMAGE-AS-A-CONSTITUENT-OF-TORT-LAW, accessed on 20-10-2013 21:12 IST 5 Loss, http://www.slideshare.net/izzahzahin/pure-economic-loss, accessed on 20-10-2013 21:30 IST

A case related to injury Ashby v White In this case plaintiff was stopped for casting his vote since he was fulfilling all eligibility and criteria so he got legal injury it means that his legal right was violated.

Legal maxim related to damage

The real significance of legal damage is illustrated by two maxims namely: Injuria sine damno and Damnum sine injuria. Damnum is meant damage in the substantial sense of money, loss of comfort, service, health or the like. By injuria is meant a tortuous act. It ned not be wilful and malicious. Injuria sine damnoIt means violation of a legal right without causing any harm, loss or damage to the plaintiff or the infringement of an absolute private right without any actual loss or damage, the person whose right is infringed has a cause of action. Since every prson has an absolute right to his property, to the immunity of his person, and to his liberty, and an infringement of this right is actionable per se.6 It means that the violation is actionable without the proof of any damage or loss. For instances, trespass to land is actionable even though no damage has been caused as a result of the trespass. Injuria sine damno covers the same type of cases as mentioned above. In such cases there is no need to prove that as a consequence of an act, the plaintiff has suffered any harm. For a successful action, the only thing which has to be proved is that the plaintiffs legal right has been violated. In this maxim injuria means violation of legal right and sine damno means without any damage. In case of injuria sine damno, the loss suffered by the plaintiff is not relevant for the purpose of a cause of action. It may be relevant only as regards the measure of damages. 7 Case related to injuria sine damnoAshby v. White is aleading case explaining the maxim injuria sine damno, in which the plaintiff was wrongfully prevented from exercising his vote by the defendants, returning officers in parliamentary election. The candidate from whom the plaintiff wanted to give his vote had come out successful in the election. Still the plaintiff brought an action claiming damages against the defendants for maliciously preventing him from exercising his statutory
6 7

Anonymous, Justice G P Singh, Law of Torts, 15(2012) Anonymous, Dr R K Bangia, Law of torts, 22(2012)

right of voting in that election. The plaintiff was allowed damages by Lord Holt saying that there was the infringement of a legal right vested in the plaintiff. Bhim Singh v. State of J. & K, the petitioner, an M.L.A of J & K Assembly, was wrongfully detained by the police while he was going to attend the Assembly session. He was not produced before the magistrate within requisite period. As a consequence of thus, the member was deprived of his constitutional right to attend the Assembly session. There was violation of fundamental right to personal liberty guaranteed under Article 21 of the constitution. By the time petition was decided by the supreme court, Bhim Singh had been released, but by way of consequential relief, exemplary damages amounting to Rs. 50000 were awarded to him. Marzetti v. Williams this case is also known as the bankers case. In this case action will lie against a banker having sufficient funds in his hands belonging to a customer, or refusing to honour his cheque, although the customer did not thereby sustain any actual loss or damage. Damnum sine injuria It means damage which isnot coupled with an unauthorized interference with the plaintiffs lawful right. Causing of damage, however substantial, to another person is not actionable in law unless there is also violation of a legal right of the plaintiff. This is generally so when the exercise of legal right by one results in consequential harm to the other. The mere fact that a man is injured by anothers act gives in itself no cause of action; if the act is deliberate the party injured will have no claim in law even though the injury is intentional, so long as the other party is exercising a legal right.8 There are many acts which though harmful are not wrongful and give no right of action to him who suffers from their effects. Damage so done and suffered is called Damnum Sine Injuria or damage without injury. Damage without breach of a legal right will not constitute a tort. They are instances of damage suffered from justifiable acts. An act or omission committed with lawful justification or excusewill not be a cause of action though it results in harm to another as a combination in furtherance of trade interest or lawful user of ones own premises. Here in the maxim the word damnum means that damage is there in the act but the word sine injuria means that there is not any violation of legal right.

Anonymous, Dr R K Bangia, Law of Torts,23(2012)

Cases related to Damnum sine injuria Gloucester Grammar School Case There the defendant, a schoolmaster, set up a rival school to that of plaintiffs. Because of the competition, the plaintiff has to reduce their fees from 40 pence to 12 pence per scholar per quarter. It was held that the plaintiff had no remedy for the los thus suffered by them. Bradford Corporation (Mayor of) v. Pickles, the plaintiff had been deriving water from the adjoining land of the defendant which was at ahigher level. The defendant sank a shaft over his own land which diminished and discoloured the water flowing to the land of the plaintiffs. The sinking the shaft alleging that the sole purpose of the same was to injure the plaintiffs as they did not purchase his land at an exorbitant price. The House of Lords held that since the defendant was exercising his lawful right, he could not be made liable even though the act which injured the plaintiff was done maliciously. In Acton v. Blundell, in which a mill owner drained off underground water running into the plaintiffs well, fully illustrate that no action lies from mere damage, however substantial, caused without the violation of some right. In the case of Mogul Steamship Co. v. Me-Gregory (1892) certain ship owners combined together. In order to drive a ship-owner out of trade by offering cheap freight charges to customers who would deal with them. The plaintiff who was driven out of business sued the ship-owner, for loss caused to him by their act. The court held that a trader who is ruined by legitimate competition of his rivals could not get damages in tort. There are moral wrongs for which the law gives no remedy, though they cause great loss or detriment. Loss or detriment is not a good ground of action unless it is the result of a species of wrong of which the law takes no cognizance.

Types of damages in tort Nominal damages:

Nominal damages awarded to an individual in an action where the person has not suffered any substantial injury or loss for which he or she must be compensated. This kind of damages reflects a legal recognition that a plaintiff's rights have been violated through a defendant's

breach of duty or wrongful conduct. The amount awarded is ordinarily a trifling sum, such as a dollar, which varies according to the circumstances of each case. In certain jurisdictions, the amount of the award might include the costs of the lawsuit. In general, nominal damages may be recovered by a plaintiff who is successful in establishing that he or she has suffered a loss or injury as a result of the defendant's wrongful conduct but is unable to adequately set forth proof of the nature and extent of the injury. The amount awarded is generally a small, symbolic sum, although in some jurisdictions it may equal the costs of bringing the lawsuit. The most famous case of nominal damages was when Prime Minister Winston Churchill was awarded a shilling (about 25 cents) in a libel lawsuit he had brought against author Louis Adamic for writing that Churchill had been drunk during a dinner at the White House. The Prime Minister was vindicated, but the jury could not find that his towering reputation had been damaged

Contemptuous damages:
Contemptuous damages are awarded when the level of harm caused to the claimant is low and the court feels that the claimant was wrong to bring a claim. They are the mirror image of nominal damages, in that the successful plaintiff is made to pay damages for bringing the lawsuit. Let us consider the example: Green and Brown are next-door neighbours who have never gotten along. Greens dog wanders onto Browns property one day and relieves himself. Brown steps in the dogs feces, is disgusted, and sues Green for trespass and for failing to control his dog. The court finds that Brown was technically legally correct and thus he must win the lawsuit, but that the lawsuit was rather ridiculous and wasted everybodys time. The court will award damages in the amount of the smallest monetary amount, to make this statement to Brown. It is to be distinguished from nominal damages because nominal damages are awarded when the plaintiff has suffered no loss, whereas contemptuous damages are awarded when the plaintiff has suffered some loss but he does not deserve to be fully compensated.

Compensatory damages:
Compensatory damages are recovered in payment for actual injury, which does not include punitive damages (to be discussed later). It is a sum of money awarded in a civil action by a court to indemnify a person for the particular loss, detriment or injury suffered as a result of the unlawful conduct of another. These damages provide a plaintiff with the monetary amount necessary to replace what was lost and nothing more.

Aggravated damages:
Damages awarded by a court to reflect the exceptional harm done to a plaintiff of a tort action. When insult or injury to the plaintiffs feelings has been caused, the Court may take into account the motive for the wrong and award an increased amount of damages. Aggravated damages are an award, or an augmentation of an award, of compensatory damages for non-pecuniary losses. They are designed to compensate the plaintiff, and they are measured by the plaintiff's suffering. Such intangible elements as pain, anguish, grief, humiliation, wounded pride, damaged self-confidence or self-esteem, loss of faith in friends or colleagues, and similar matters that are caused by the conduct of the defendant; that are of the type that the defendant should reasonably have foreseen in tort cases or had in contemplation in contract cases; that cannot be said to be fully compensated for in an award for pecuniary losses; and that are sufficiently significant in depth, or duration, or both, that they represent a significant influence on the plaintiff's life, can properly be

the basis for the making of an award for non-pecuniary losses or for the augmentation of such an award.Aggravated damages are an augmentation of general damages to compensate for aggravated injury.

Punitive Damages:
Punitive damages are triggered by conduct that may be described by such epithets as highhanded, malicious, vindictive, and oppressive. They are awarded where the court feels that the award of compensatory damages will not achieve sufficient deterrence and that the defendant's actions must be further punished. Punitive damages bear no relation to what the plaintiff should receive by way of compensation. Their aim is not to compensate the plaintiff, but rather to punish the defendant. ...They are in the nature of a fine which is meant to act as a deterrent to the defendant and to others from acting in this manner. It is important to emphasize that punitive damages should only be awarded in those circumstances where the combined award of general and aggravated damages would be insufficient to achieve the goal of punishment and deterrence. As explained by McIntyre. J., "Punitive damages, as the name would indicate, are designed to punish. In this, they constitute an exception to the general common law rule that damages are designed to compensate the injured, not to punish the wrongdoer

Quantum of damages

Damages in the law of torts in India are premised on the concept of restituto in integrum. India adopts a compensatory method and advocates "full and fair compensation" in all cases. In determining the quantum of damages, the Indian court will look to similar cases that may enable comparison. Indias formulation of damages for tort cases is premised on the multiplier method, awarding compensation based on the degree of compromise to the earning ability of the victim. Under the multiplier method, the fair and just amount represents "the number of years' purchase on which the loss of dependency is capitalized. Then allowance to scale down the multiplier would have to be made taking into account the uncertainties of the future. The allowance for immediate lump sum payment the period over which the dependency is to last being shorter and the capital feed also to be spent away over the period of dependency is to last."The multiplier principle is encapsulated in a statutory form for tortuous cases involving personal injuries caused by motor vehicles, under the Motor Vehicle Act. However, in so calculating, the court will take into account inflation in calculating damages. For instances of pecuniary damages with regards to personal injury, the following heads will be taken into account: 1. Loss of earning, 2. Medical, hospital and nursing expenses; and 3. The loss of matrimonial prospects. In instances of non-pecuniary loss, the following will be taken into consideration: 1. Loss of expectation of life, 2. Loss of amenities or capacity for enjoying life, 3. Loss or impairment of physiological function, and 4. Pain and suffering. Aggravated damages may be awarded to compensate victims for their wounded feelings in tortuous cases in certain cases. These damages are determined by examining if the defendant's conduct aggravated the plaintiff's damage by injuring" feelings of dignity, safety and pride".

Approach towards 'pain and suffering'

In analysing pain and suffering, several factors such as severity of injury, medical treatment required, psychological stress and long-term physical and emotional scars, would be taken into account.

In cases of victims who were unconscious, one must award not only for the loss of amenities and loss of expectation of life, but also for pain and suffering. Such damages are awarded not as a matter of solace. This view comes close to that expressed by Lord Scamman in Lim Poh Choo v Camden and Islington Area Health Authority, difference being that an award must be "made even for pain and suffering in case of unconscious plaintiffs". The reason for so doing is that it "looks strange that wrongdoer whose negligence makes the victim unconscious is placed in a more advantageous position than one who inflicts a lesser injury which does not render the victim unconscious "There are three guiding principles in measuring the quantum of compensation for pain and suffering: 1. Amount of compensation awarded must be reasonable and must be assessed with moderation, 2. Regard must be had to awards made in comparable cases; and 3. The sum awarded must to a considerable extent be conventional.

Punitive Damages
Being influenced by Rookes v Barnard, the India Court ruled that punitive damages can be awarded in only three categories: 1. Cases where the plaintiff is injured by the oppressive, arbitrary or unconstitutional action by a servant of the Government 2. Cases in which the defendants conduct has been calculated by him to make a profit for himself which may well exceed the compensation payable to the plaintiff, and 3. Where provided by statute. However, this stand has since shifted with an expanding tort jurisdiction. The Supreme Court accepted a Committee's suggestion to evolve a "principle of liability punitive in nature on account of vandalism and rioting. The reasoning given was that it "would deter people from similar behaviour in the future. In an environmental tort case, the defendant was made to pay exemplary damages so that it may act as deterrent for others not to cause pollution in any manner.

Remoteness of damages
Remoteness of damage relates to the requirement that the damage must be of a foreseeable type. In negligence claims, once the claimant has established that the defendant owes them a duty of care and is in breach of that duty which has caused damage, they must also demonstrate that the damage was not too remote. Remoteness of damage must also be applied to claims under the Occupiers Liability Acts and also to nuisance claims. Remoteness of damage is often viewed as an additional mechanism of controlling tortuous liability. Not every loss will be recoverable in tort law. Originally a defendant was liable for all losses which were a direct consequence of the defendant's breach of duty: In Re Polemis & Furness Withy & Company Ltd. [1921] 3 KB 560Some Stevedores carelessly dropped a plank of wood into the hold of a ship. The plank struck something as it was falling which caused a spark. The spark was ignited by petrol vapours resulting in the destruction of the ship. The arbitrator held that the causing of the spark could not have been anticipated and therefore no liability arose. The claimant appealed. Held: There was no requirement that the damage was foreseeable. The defendant was liable for all the direct consequences of their action. This was largely considered unfair as a defendant could be liable for damage which was not foreseeable and therefore could not take steps to prevent it. The direct consequence test was overruled in the Wagon Mound no 1 and replaced with a new test for deciding if damages are too remote: The Wagon Mound no 1 [1961] AC 388 House of Lords The defendant's vessel, The Wagon Mound, leaked furnace oil at a Wharf in Sydney Harbour. Some cotton debris became embroiled in the oil and sparks from some welding works ignited the oil. The fire spread rapidly causing destruction of some boats and the wharf. Held: Re Polemis should no longer be regarded as good law. A test of remoteness of damage was substituted for the direct consequence test. The test is whether the damage is of a kind that was foreseeable. If a foreseeable type of damage is present, the defendant is liable for the full extent of the damage, no matter whether the extent of damage was foreseeable.

The Egg shell skull rule

A final aspect of remoteness of damage is the egg shell (or thin) skull rule. This means a defendant must take their victim as they find them, i.e, if the victim is particularly vulnerable or has a pre-existing condition resulting in them suffering greater injury than would be expected in an ordinary person, the defendant remains responsible for the full extent of the injury: Page v Smith [1996] 1 AC 155 House of Lords The claimant had suffered from ME

over a period of time and was in recovery when he was involved in a minor car accident due to the defendant's negligence. The claimant was not physically injured in the collision but the incident triggered his ME and had become chronic and permanent so that he was unable to return to his job as a teacher. He was successful at his trial and awarded 162,000 in damages. Held: Provided some kind of personal injury was foreseeable it did not matter whether the injury was physical or psychiatric. There was thus no need to establish that psychiatric injury was foreseeable. Also the fact that an ordinary person would not have suffered the injury incurred by the claimant was irrelevant as the defendant must take his victim as he finds him under the thin skull rule.

The Law of Torts is not well developed in India as in countries like the United States of America and the United Kingdom. Hence applicability of its various aspects is also limited in the country. Damages form a very integral part of Tort Law. The Legislature should come up with sufficient and practical rules and theories for computation of quantum of damages. This will lead to a decrease in ambiguities that we come across in various cases regarding the calculation of compensation. Economic analysis has greatly enriched our understanding of damage rules. It reveals that damages serve a complex and multi-faceted role: deterring risk takers, helping victims spread risks and compensating them for their losses. This has also helped us to design tort liability and design rules, which can guide legislators and courts as they design tort liability and damage rules. It is suggested that at present damage awards for serious personal injury and death generally are not sufficiently large to induce potential injurers to take due care and engage in optimal activity levels. While considering the situation in India, it can be seen that all the rules for the purpose of damage calculation are not predominantly utilized. The purpose of law is served in so far as the violation of a legal right does not remain without a legal remedy,. If however the court feels that the violation of a lgal right is owing to mischievous and malicious act.


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