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  • 2004-01-19
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C & C Construction Co. Ltd. vs. Okhai

C & C CONSTRUCTION CO. LTD.

AUGUSTINE OFUMADE

V

SAMUEL TUNDE OKHAI

SUPREME COURT OF NIGERIA

SALIHU MODIBBO ALFA BELGORE, JSC ( Presided )

ALOYSIUS IYORGYER KATSINA-ALU, JSC

SAMSON ODEMWINGIE UWAIFO, JSC

DENNIS EDOZIE, JSC

IGNATIUS C. PATS-ACHOLONU, JSC ( Read the Lead Judgment )

SC. 8/1999

FRIDAY, 12TH DECEMBER, 2003

ADMINISTRATION OF JUSTICE - Purpose of trials in the court

COURT - Purpose of trials in the court

DAMAGES - Assessment of damages - Where trial court fails to assess damages in personal injury cases - Duty of Court of Appeal to do so

DAMAGES - Personal injury - Assessment of damages - Where trial court fails to make provisional assessment - Duty of the Court of Appeal to do so

DAMAGES - Personal injury - Damages for pain and suffering Measure of

DAMAGES - Personal injury - Pain and suffering - Whether damages for is a claim in general damages

EVIDENCE - Expert evidence -  Personal injury - Proof of pain and suffering - Whether expert evidence of a medical doctor is necessary

EVIDENCE - Personal injury - Expert evidence of a medical doctor Whether necessary to prove pain and suffering

EVIDENCE - Personal injury - Pain - Evidence of extent and duration of - Whether must come from sufferer or victim

EVIDENCE - Personal injury - Pain and suffering - When presumed

EVIDENCE - Witness - Exaggerated testimony of - How to regard

TORTS - Inevitable accident - How to raise defence of

TORTS - Inevitable accident explained

TORTS - Pain and suffering - Proof of - Whether expert evidence of a medical doctor is necessary

TORTS - Pain and suffering - When presumed

TORTS - Pain and suffering explained

TORTS - Personal injury - Damages for pain and suffering - Measure of

TORTS - Personal injury - Expert evidence of a medical doctor Whether necessary to prove pain and suffering

TORTS - Personal injury - Extent and duration of pain -  Need for evidence of to come from sufferer

TORTS - Personal injury - Inevitable accident explained

TORTS - Personal injury - Pain and suffering - Whether damages for is a claim in general damages

TORTS - Personal injury - Pain and suffering - Whether medical evidence is needed to prove

WORDS AND PHRASES - Pain and suffering explained

Issues:

1.              Whether the Court of Appeal was right when it held that res

ipsa loquitor applied in the circumstances of this case.

2.              Whether the Court of Appeal was not in error in holding that inevitable accident was neither pleaded nor facts established, same at the trial court

3.              Whether the Court of Appeal was right to have awarded N700,000.00 as general damages in view of the facts and circumstances of this case.

4.              Whether the learned justices of the Court of Appeal were right to dismiss the claim for damages resulting from pain and suffering on the ground that evidence was not led in support of that head of claim.

Facts:

On 6th July, 1993 at the 1 st appellant’s premises at Abuja, the respondent, the 2nd appellant and four other co-employees of the 1st appellant company were servicing the company’s crane. The sling wire of the lift was faulty and needed to be corrected. As the respondent was doing this, the 2nd appellant pressed the starter button of the crane without warning. The crane was suddenly mobilized and the drum rolled over and crushed the left foot and ankle of the respondent. He was taken to the hospital and his leg was ultimately amputated below the knee.

He sued the company and the employee (2nd appellant) responsible for the injury he sustained and the condition he found himself. The respondent lost the case before the trial court. On appeal, the Court of Appeal found for him, set aside the judgment of the trial court, and awarded a total of N700,000.00 as damages. The court refused to make an award for pain and suffering. While the appellants appealed against the decision of the Court of Appeal, the respondent cross-appealed on the issue of damages for pain and suffering.