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Canadian Animal Law

Damages - Betterment

. Bookman v. U-Haul Co.(Canada) Ltd.

In Bookman v. U-Haul Co.(Canada) Ltd. (Div Ct, 2007) the Divisional Court applied the damages principle of 'betterment' against an otherwise successful plaintiff to reduce an award which overcompensated for them for the loss of used chattels by awarding the value of new ones:
[18] Whether it is a reflection of depreciation, the betterment principle or other relevant factors, actual cash value has unusually involved a deduction factor. (See Feist v. Gore Mutual Insurance Co. [1991] O.J. 67)

[19] Where replacement cost is determined to be the proper basis for an award of damages, the usual principle should be applied and depreciation should be taken into account. (See Jens v. Mannix Co. (1979) 30 DLR(4th))

[20] Where the damaged article is repaired, the cost of the repair must be reasonable, both in the work must be necessary and changes must not be extravagant. (See McGregor (supra) at page 1032, 32-003 and 32-006)

[21] Most specifically, the proper measure of damages is the reasonable cost of repair less any enhancement if the repaired article is more valuable than it was before the accident. (See Waddams, The Law of Damages (Toronto: Canada Law Book, 1997) at 1.2760)

....

[24] The law however, is clear that depreciation or betterment is a necessary factor to consider in awarding damages.

....

[28] It is the Appellant’s position that Deputy Judge erred in law in awarding to the Plaintiffs the price of the rental of the truck as it amounts to unjust enrichment.

[29] Where a breach of contract is found, a Plaintiff is only entitled to be put in the position that he or she would have been in, had the contract not been breached. (See Sally Wertheim v. Chicoutimi Pulp Co. (supra))


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