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Lagden v O’Connor [2003] UKHL 64

Damages – Credit Hire Agreement – Foreseeability – Remoteness of Damage – Eggshell Skull Rule – Road Traffic Accident

Facts

The Defendant, Mr O’Connor, hit the complainant’s parked car and caused damage to the vehicle. The complainant, Mr Lagden, was unemployed at the time of the incident and could not afford to pay for another car while his vehicle was getting fixed. Instead, he entered into a credit hire agreement for another car while his vehicle was pending repairs. The complainant had looked for damages to also cover the cost of the credit agreement.

Issues

Damages were awarded for the cost of the credit hire agreement. But, the defendant appealed this decision. The issue was whether the cost of credit hire for the vehicle could be fully recoverable.

Held

The appeal was dismissed. The claim for the cost of the credit hire agreement was recoverable in full.  While a complainant has a duty to mitigate his losses, Mr Lagden had no choice but to hire a vehicle while his car was in the garage being fixed. The defendant must take his victim as he finds him. If evidence demonstrated that the complainant had chosen a more costly alternative, then there would be a deduction. The question is whether the complainant had a choice. In this case, Mr Ladgen was an innocent motorist with no alternative. The judge states that the law has moved on since Liesbosch and the correct test for remoteness is whether the loss is reasonably foreseeable and then take the victim as you find them.


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