Jobling v Associated Dairies [1981]

Defendant’s negligence caused plaintiff
back injury – plaintiff disabled and his earning capacity was reduced.
3 years later, before trial, plaintiff
found to be suffering from complaint, unrelated to accident, which totally incapacitated
him and made him unfit for work.
Defendants said this terminated the period
for which they were liable.
House of Lords unanimously agreed.
[ie contrary to Baker v Willoughby, although they don’t actually overrule that
case]
Lord Wilberforce:
Allowance must be made in damages for
possible vicissitudes of life eg illness.
Hence if such a vicissitude becomes actual before trial, should take it into
account.
Lord Bridge:
‘To hold the tortfeasor, in this situation,
liable to pay damages for a notional continuing loss of earnings attributable
to the tortuous injury is to put the plaintiff in a better position than he
would be in if he had never suffered the tortuous injury’
‘Where a plaintiff injured by defendant’s tort
is wholly incapacitated from earning by supervening
illness
or accidental injury, the
law will no longer treat the tort as a continuing cause of any loss of earning
capacity’