Gammell v Wilson; Furness v Massey: HL 1982

In each case, the deceased, died as a result of the defendants’ negligence. The parents claimed damages for themselves as dependants under the 1976 Act, and for the estate under the 1934 Act. The claims under the 1976 Act were held to have been extinguished by the awards under the 1934 Act. Each award included a sum for loss of future earnings. The defendant insurers appealed.
Held: The causes of action for both deceased included, immediately before the deaths, a claim for loss of future earnings. Such a claim was not precluded by 1(2)(c) of the 1934 Act. It cannot normally be an abuse of process to enforce an express statutory entitlement. The House recognised the difficulties in awarding damages where a deceased plaintiff’s dependents were not his heirs.


[1982] AC 27, [1981] 2 WLR 248, (1981) 125 SJ 116, [1981] 1 All ER 578


Law Reform (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 1934 1(1) 1(2)(c), Fatal Accidents Act 1976


England and Wales


Appeal fromGammell v Wilson; Furness v Massey HL 1980
Lord Diplock set out the method of assessment of damages for lost years: ‘Here was an obvious injustice which this House remedied by overruling Oliver v. Ashman [1962] 2 Q.B. 210 and holding that a living plaintiff could recover damages for loss of . .
AppliedPickett v British Rail Engineering HL 2-Nov-1978
Lost Earnings claim Continues after Death
The claimant, suffering from mesothelioma, had claimed against his employers and won, but his claim for loss of earnings consequent upon his anticipated premature death was not allowed. He began an appeal, but then died. His personal representatives . .

Cited by:

CitedGregg v Scott HL 27-Jan-2005
The patient saw his doctor and complained about a lump under his arm. The doctor failed to diagnose cancer. It was nine months before treatment was begun. The claimant sought damages for the reduction in his prospects of disease-free survival for . .
CitedKnauer v Ministry of Justice SC 24-Feb-2016
The court was asked: ‘whether the current approach to assessing the financial losses suffered by the dependant of a person who is wrongfully killed properly reflects the fundamental principle of full compensation, and if it does not whether we . .
Lists of cited by and citing cases may be incomplete.


Updated: 13 May 2022; Ref: scu.222515