Loss Of Quality Of Life: What Is It And How Do You Prove It?
When someone is injured in an accident, they may already know that they can get compensation for their pain and suffering. But often, the term “loss of the enjoyment of life,” or “loss of quality of life” is also mentioned as an item of damages. But what is that? And how does it differ from pain and suffering?
WHat is Loss of Enjoyment of Life?
Like pain and suffering, loss of enjoyment of life isn’t something that has a price tag, or which can just be calculated or added up by a jury. It’s something that has to be proven.
As the name says, loss of quality or enjoyment of life simply means the extent to which someone is not able to do, participate in, or enjoy, the things that he or she once did, all because of the injuries from the accident.
This may be simply “fun” activities, like sports or amusement parks or talking walks, but it also can include life’s more meaningful moments, like being able to hold a child, or being able to go on trips with a loved one.
The loss doesn’t have to be complete, although it can be. For example, someone may not ever be able to travel because of the pain from their injuries. But they may be able to travel, just not as much, or as far, or they may not enjoy it as much, because of their injuries.
In other words, the loss of the life activity doesn’t have to be complete—it can just be limited because of the injuries, to be compensable in a personal injury case.
Relation to Pain and Suffering
Loss of quality of life can be related to pain and suffering, but it does not have to be. Someone could, hypothetically, have limited pain, but because of an injury, still not be able to do the things that he or she once did that made life enjoyable.
Someone who breaks their leg may have completely healed, and thus, not have any more pain—but because the leg did not heal right, they could not enjoy running or playing with their child the way that they did before the accident.
Proof in Court
Just because you have suffered an injury, doesn’t mean you have lost any quality of life—the loss must be proven in court, as a separate element of damages.
Showing a loss of enjoyment or quality of life, requires showing the jury that you participated in, and enjoyed that activity. Some things are obvious—you don’t need to prove that you played with your child or did things with a spouse—most juries understand that’s something all of us do and enjoy.
But when it comes to sports, activities, or leisure activities, you may have to show the jury, “this is what I used to do, and now I can’t do it (or do it as often or as well).”