If you sustain an injury caused by the careless or negligent actions of another individual or business, you should be able to recover compensation for a variety of losses. In general, this will include medical bills, lost wages, property damage expenses, and general household out-of-pocket expenses. However, injury victims should also be able to recover compensation for a variety of non-economic damages, including loss of enjoyment of life. Here, we want to examine how the loss of enjoyment of life damages are calculated in a personal injury case.
What is Loss of Enjoyment of Life?
The term “loss of enjoyment of life” is not something that many people hear on a daily basis. In reality, this is not something that anybody wants to actually experience. However, after a person sustains a moderate to severe injury, their day-to-day life will undoubtedly be affected in some way. The effects that an injury has on a person’s ability to enjoy their life as they have previously been able to is considered a loss of enjoyment of life.
This term can refer to what happens to a person when they:
- Suffer a physical or mental injury, and
- The injury affects their ability to perform and activity at the same level of enjoyment they could before the injury.
Loss of enjoyment of life can encompass a broad range of things that a person can experience that lowers their quality of life. Some of the most common examples of what a person can “lose” enjoyment from after an injury occurs include the following:
- Various recreational activities or hobbies
- Family bonding activities
- Domestic or foreign travel
- Career advancement opportunities
- Volunteer opportunities
- Social interactions with friends
When we examine the loss of enjoyment of life, we typically see that those who sustained catastrophic injuries are much more likely to sustain some sort of tragic loss at this level. Commonly, loss of enjoyment of life compensation will be awarded to spinal cord injury victims, traumatic brain injury victims, those who sustain severe burns, amputees, etc.
Properly Calculating Loss of Enjoyment of Life After an Injury
A judge or jury will consider a wide range of factors when it comes to properly calculate loss of enjoyment of life damages. Some of the key factors that will go into these calculations include the following:
- The age of the injury victim
- The work history and educational background of the victim
- The area where the injury victim lives
- The severity of the injuries
- The new physical appearance of the injury victim
- The future consequences of the injury
- The nature of the activities that can no longer be enjoyed
When working to properly calculate the loss of enjoyment of life damages, attorneys for the injury victim will typically present expert financial and economic witnesses who can help judges and juries understand the severity of the loss.
Loss of enjoyment of life will usually be considered a “non-economic” damage in these cases. Properly calculating these losses will usually involve a “multiplier method” where an attorney will add up all the economic damages and then multiply that by set number to reach the non-economic damage total. In some cases, a “per diem” method could be used where a monetary value will be assigned for pain and suffering losses to each day that a person will experience the “loss.”