Question 1 [25]
Carefully read through the set of facts below and then answer the questions that follow:
C and D are neighbours. C recently moved into the house next to D. He immediately started building a brick wall between his property and that of D. On the morning of 24 August 2012, D confronted C on the pavement when the latter was trying to access the road. D accused C that he was building the wall on D’s property and that he was stealing a part of his property. When C vehemently denied the allegations, D lost his temper and assaulted C with his walking stick. In the process C’s glasses were broken, he suffered severe head injuries, as well as injuries to his hand as he tried to ward off the blows. D also caused damage to C’s car. C had to be taken to hospital by ambulance where he was treated for his head injuries and the injuries to his hand. As C is a self-employed carpenter, he needs his hand to conduct his business. C was hospitalized for a week, but he still needs to go to a physiotherapist on a regular basis to restore the damage to his hand. For 6 weeks C could not continue with his business as usual.
As soon as he recovered C consulted an attorney to advise him on the possibility of claiming damages from D. The case eventually goes on trial on 9 September 2017.
Identify the different claims that C might have against D. State whether the claim constitutes patrimonial or non-patrimonial loss. Also state whether the damage can be classified as damnum emergens or damnum cessans. (20)
Use the same set of facts as above, but assume that the costs for all the damages were calculated as R200 000, except for loss of earnings. But by the time the case went to trial the costs had escalated to R300 000 as a result of inflation. For which amount will C be compensated on the 9th of September 2017? Substantiate your answer by referring to a decided judgment. You must state the ratio decidendi of this case in your answer. (3)
As a result of his broken hand, C could not work for 3 months. He earns R30 000 a month as a carpenter. How much can he claim from D for loss of earnings at the trial date? How can he prove his loss of income? (2)

Question 2 [8]
Mr N is a panel beater, who is running his own business. However, he is doing business illegally as he does not have the required licence to conduct his business. A year ago, Mr N died due to the negligence of Dr W. Mr N’s children, R and S, would like to claim maintenance from Dr W to compensate them for the loss of maintenance they suffered after their father’s death. Mr N was also the sole breadwinner. Advise them whether they will succeed with the action and refer to a decided case to substantiate your answer.

Question 3 [40]
Read the scenario below carefully and then answer the questions that follow:
Mr M, an architect, was driving in his Suzuki Jimny on the N1 highway between Pretoria and Johannesburg on 1 September 2019. He was adhering to the speed limit and noticed in his rear mirror that a Mercedes was approaching him from behind. The Mercedes overtook him, but suddenly swerved into the lane where Mr M was driving. Mr M tried to avoid the Mercedes hitting his car, swerved to the right and struck the steel crash barrier in the middle of the highway. Mr M sustained a broken nose and disfigurement of his face, as well as brain injuries that effect his physical abilities and psychological functioning to such an extent that he can no longer practise as an architect.
At the time of the accident, Mr M was self-employed and earned R60 000 per month. As a result of the accident, Mr M was unable to work and was hospitalised for 2 months. According to the neurosurgeon and plastic surgeon, Mr M still needs extensive surgery. Mr M was self- conscious about his appearance and depressed. His personal appearance is important in his line of work. Mr M consults with you, an attorney who specialises in RAF claims, to act on his behalf.
Advise Mr M on the damages that he will be entitled to claim form the RAF as well as the documentary evidence that he must provide in order to succeed with his claims. (10)
Since Mr M is self-employed as an architect, indicate how the court will assess his claim for loss of past income and earnings. (10)
Explain in detail to Mr M whether he may claim compensation for loss of future income and earning capacity. In your answer you must clearly distinguish between these two concepts. (10)
Use the same set of facts, but assume that a year after summons was issued and served on the RAF, Mr M dies. The post mortem confirms that the head injuries Mr M sustained during the accident caused his death. Mr M leaves behind a wife and two sons. Mr M was also the breadwinner of the household. Advise Mrs M on the nature of the assessment of further claims she may institute against the RAF. Refer to relevant case law in your answer. (10)

Question 4 [20]
Read the following two cases and then answer the question below:
Ngubani v Road Accident Fund 2022 (5) 231 (GJ) and
Olivier NO v MEC for Health, Western Cape and Another 2023 (2) SA 441 (WCC)
Write an essay in which you compare these two judgments. In your answer you must address the similarities and differences between the two judgments. You are expected to identify the legal question in each case, as well as the ratio decidendi and then discuss the similarities and differences between these two. Your essay must consist of an introduction and conclusion. Marks will be awarded for these as well.

Question 5 [7]
The principles that govern the appeals on damages are different from those that govern an appeal in general. Critically discuss this statement.

Answers to Above Questions on Law of Damages

Answer 1: On the basis of facts and information provided, there are several cleans possible against D and these can be classified as patrimonial or non-patrimonial. The potential claims possible based on the information provided includes personal injury claim, property damage claim, medical expenses claim and property dispute claim.


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