Chan Siu Lung v Yip Kam Shui (t/a Ying Tung Engineering Co)  5 HKLRD 710,  HKCA 1144
In this appeal, P, a plumber who was performing welding work in a building under construction and who suffered serious head injuries in a fall of about 1.5 metres from an unguarded hop-up platform, sought an increase of the damages awarded to him by a Master. Two points were taken by counsel for P on his behalf. The first point was that the award for pre-trial loss of earnings which the Master made should have included damages for partial loss of earnings for a limited period beyond the sick leave which she allowed. And the second point was that the award for loss of earning capacity which the Master made failed to take sufficient account of the risk of P not finding and retaining work as a construction site plumber upon the expiry of his sick leave. Counsel for P indicated that if the Court of Appeal decided in his favour on the first point, P would not seek to disturb the award for loss of earning capacity which the Master made.
Held, allowing the appeal to increase the award for pre-trial loss of earnings and MPF by $529,200, that:
- (1) In considering the award for pre-trial loss of earnings, the Master simply stopped at the point in time when she found P could have resumed working on the expiry of a reasonable sick leave period, with three months added on to allow him to look for work. But on the available expert evidence, which the Master accepted: (i) P would not have been able to resume working as a plumber on a construction site until he had overcome his fear of working at heights; and (ii) that continued psychiatric and psychological therapy was required for two years for him to overcome that fear. (See para.36.)
- (2) For that reason, the award for pre-trial loss of earnings and MPF should be increased by $529,200 from $1,270,080 to $1,799, 280, being the partial loss of earnings for the two years when he underwent such therapy. (See para.41.)
- (3) It was unnecessary to consider the second point since counsel for P had indicated that he would not pursue it if the appeal succeeded on the first point. (See para.40.)
[The above is excerpted from the headnote to the report in HKLRD.]