IN THE SUPREME COURT OF HONG KONG
Coram: Master Betts in Chambers
Date of hearing: 11 March 1986
Date of delivery: 11 Apri1 1986
Assessment of Damages
1. In September 1982 the late Kwok Kin Wo was crossing Wai Yip Street in Kwun Tong by way of a zebra crossing. He was knocked down bya car driven by the defendant and died of his injuries a few hours later.
2. At the time he was aged 40.
3. The writ in this action was issued in June 1984 and interlocutory judgment entered. two months later.
4. On the evidence before me I am satisfied that at the time of his death Mr. Kwok was employed at the Hop Lee Elastics Factory at themonthly salary (including allowances) of $2,000.00. According to the factory owner that sum would have increased by $200 to $300per month each year. It was also permitted by the factory owner that Mr. Kwok might engage in his own business in his spare time.He did so, and statements have been produced from the Union Bark of Hong Kong Limited showing Mr. Kwok operated his own businesscalled Hing Lung Plastic and Metal Factory up to the date of his death. It was an active Bank account showing a sum of $35,000.00had been saved, in about 4 years. That is an annual average of $8,750.00.
5. Mr. Kwok was survived by his widow, Madam Wan Fung Chun, and young son, who has just turned 4 years old, on whose behalf these proceedingshave been brought.
6. Madam Wan gave evidence, which was unchallenged and which I accept, that her late husband gave her housekeeping money of $2,000.00each month. Her husband usually took his evening meal at home, but otherwise ate elsewhere. I estimate, of the housekeeping money,$500.00 per month should be attributed to food for him leaving a monthly free balance of $1,500.00. That is the figure I proposeto adopt for the period of 42 months from the date of death to to-day. On the basis that increases in salary would most likely haveexceeded increases in personal expenditure of assess the post-trial monthly figure at $2,000.00.
7. From the bank statements produced I cannot really tell whether Mr. Kwok’s own business was likely to prosper or decline. I shalltake it as likely to continue steadily enabling a modest saving of $9,000.00 to be made each year.
8. Mr. Chan suggested the proper multiplier in this case is 12, but produced no authorities in support. I have considered a number ofrecent awards and accept the suggestion.
9. Evidence was produced, which I accepted, of funeral expenses amounting to $6,500.00 and claim made to the usual award of $20,000.00 for the loss of expectation of life. Both those sums are awarded.
10. The loss to the estate from Mr. Kwok’s own business, therefore, is $9,000.00 x 12 = $108,000.00.
11. The pre-trial loss from his employment is $1,500.00 x 42 =$63,000.00.
12. The post-trial loss from his employment is 12,000.00 x 102 = $204,000.00.
13. The small son of the deceased, Kwok Sit Yee, is living with Madam Wan and is totally supported by her. He is in good health, so Iam told, and suffers from no handicap. From the whole award I apportion the sum of $100,000.00 to him to secure his future. The sumwill be held and invested during his infancy by the Registrar Supreme Court on the usual terms and with the usual unfettered powerto advance both income and capital. Applications to the Registrar may, of course, be made quite informally by personal appointment.
14. There will be interest on the special damages at the rate of 3.8% per annum from the date of death until judgment and on the generaldamages at the rate of 2% per annum from the date of service of the writ until judgment. There will be no interest on the post-trialloss.
15. There will be costs to the plaintiff with a certificate for counsel. The plaintiffs own costs are to be taxed pursuant to the Legal Aid Regulations.
Mr. L. Chan instructed by D.L.A. for plaintiffs
Defendant in person