Brickhill V Cooke Case Summary

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NEGLIGENCE, CASES,SOLUTION
CASE STUDY
Brickhill v Cooke [1984] 3 NSWLR 396

Facts
• The prospective purchasers of a property engaged an engineer to inspect the property and prepare a written report.
• The engineer concluded that the property was structurally sound.
• After the property had been purchased, the new owners discovered that the property was not structurally sound and that the engineer had failed to identify five structural defects.

Result
• The engineer 's failure to identify the structural defects, which should have been apparent on any reasonable inspection, meant that the engineer failed to perform the inspection with the reasonable degree of competence expected of a professional engineer.
• The engineer 's duty of care in relation to negligence existed alongside the engineer 's contractual obligations.
• This overlap between negligence and contract will be
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Yet another approach was taken in Hotson v East Bershire Health Authority (1987). Here the plaintiff, a young boy, had gone to hospital after falling from a rope and injuring his knee. An X-ray showed no apparent injury, so he was sent home. Five days later, the boy was still in pain and when he was taken back to the hospital, a hip injury was diagnosed and treated. He went on to develop a condition known as a avascular necrosis, which is caused when blood supply to the site of an injury is restricted and eventually results in pain and deformity. This condition could have arisen as a result of the injury anyway, but medical evidence showed that there was a 25 per cent chance that if he had been diagnosed and treated properly on his first visit to the hospital, the injury would have healed and the avascular necrosis would not have developed. The Court of Appeal treated this evidence as relevant to the issue of damages, holding that is meant his action could succeed but he should receive only 25 per cent of the damages he would have got if the condition was wholly due to defendant’s

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