IN THE HIGH COURT OF MALAWI
MZUZU HIGH COURT
CIVIL CAUSE NO. 86
CORAM: HIS HONOUR,
Hon. Justice Ndovi (retired) of Counsel for
R U L I N G
This is an appointment to assess damages. The
defendants were served with the notice to assess damages. They did
not turn up
for hearing neither their representatives. No reasons
were given for such a failure. I therefore went ahead to hear the
on the unchallenged testimony of the plaintiffs.
There are three
plaintiffs in this case. They are all fishmongers. They met their
fate on the very same day, same place and in
the same motor vehicle.
They have thus sued jointly because the matter arose from the same
facts against the same defendants.
writ of Summons was issued in this matter, judgment in default of
defence was entered in the plaintiffs favour on the
of July, 2000. There being a default judgment, it therefore means
that the issue of liability has been settled as a fact. My
therefore is only to assess the damages. All the plaintiffs sued the
defendants for damages for pain, suffering and loss
of amenities as a
result of the negligence of the defendants whereby a road accident
happened on the 15th
of October 1996. The brief facts of the case are that on the 15th
of October 1996, the three plaintiffs boarded a motor vehicle Reg.
No. MZ 1947 pick-up driven by the first defendant, the motor
being for the second defendant and insured by the third defendant.
The motor vehicle was on its way to Kasungu and the
wanted to sell their fish at Kasungu market. On the way before
Kasungu, there was a tyre burst and the three
I shall refer to their
injuries as individuals so that when I compute the actual figures,
there is no confusion at all. The first
plaintiff Davie Banda
sustained injuries on his hand, head and shoulder. He told the Court
that up now he feels dizzy and pain
on the head. His left hand is so
heavy that he can no longer hold and lift heavy things. The medical
report further shows that
the first plaintiff had a permanent
incapacity of 20 percent.
The second plaintiff
Mr. Shabani Kambalame Phiri sustained injuries on his left ribs; leg
and thigh. The plaintiff has been put
at a permanent incapacity of
The third plaintiff
Mr. Malingamoyo Jackson sustained severe deep cut wounds on the head
and fracture rib on the chest. His permanent
incapacity has been
assessed at 25 percent.
As I have
always said when computing damages in cases of this nature, damages
are usually awarded under major aspects of pain and
loss of amenities. See McGregor on Damages
Edition page 4 para 1514 at 1531.
I have looked at the
nature of the injuries suffered by the plaintiffs. Much as I am
aware that such damages have no mathematical
exactitude, but the
assessor in coming up with such awards has to reflect awards made in
comparable cases. I am aware that the
damages I have to assess here
must be compensatory. I have looked at several cases decided in
these Courts. I do observe that
these decisions are progressive as
they take into account the prevalent value of the Kwacha. I
therefore award the first plaintiff
the sum of K45, 000, the second
plaintiff the sum of K55,000 and their plaintiff the sum of K55,000.
These damages are awarded
for pain, injury, suffering and loss of
amenities. I also award the plaintiffs costs of this action.
IN CHAMBERS at Mzuzu this 4th
day of September 2001.