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5.0 - Law of Delicit - Action for Damages
There is no Act of Parliament that sets out the various delicts in the way that, for instance, the Penal Code defines various crimes.
Actions that constitute a delict
The law of delict may be classified as follows:
Wrongs against the person - death, assault, bodily harm, false imprisonment
Wrongs against chastity and marriage - seduction, adultery, interference with a spouse's right of consortium with the other
Wrongs against reputation - defamation
Wrong against property - trespass (wrongful disturbance of possession), nuisance, injurious falsehood, passing off, negligent statements, interference with contract, trade, business or employment
Liability for dangerous property - land and buildings, animals, movables
Misuse of legal procedure - malicious prosecution, erroneous civil proceedings and unlawful execution
In the case of death the deceased's executor or administrator or a dependent of the deceased can bring an action.
In the case of a relatively small number of delicts liability is said to be "strict", i.e. there is an absolute duty imposed not to cause damage in a certain way. In such cases questions of whether the defendant was careless or whether he could reasonably have foreseen that damage would result are not relevant.
In the case of many delicts negligence is an essential ingredient of liability; e.g. motor accident cases. "Negligence" however, does not mean mere carelessness. It is an absence of care where there is a duty to exercise care.
Measure of Damages
In an action injuriarum (personal action) on the other hand, while some damages may be precisely measurable (such as medical expenses):
(a) his actual expenses, e.g. medical ;
(b) damages for pain and suffering and disfigurement (if any);
(c) expenses that he will have to incur in the future as a result of any disablement;
(d) loss of earnings during the period of incapacity;
(e) loss of future earnings if the disability is permanent.
Where the plaintiff's own negligence has contributed to the damage.