How Do You Calculate Damages For a Loss of Enjoyment of Life?

Many aspects of your life are likely to change in the wake of a catastrophic injury. For example, you might find yourself unable to participate in activities you once enjoyed. Because of this, both Arizona and New Mexico allow you to file a claim for “loss of enjoyment of life” as part of your non-economic damages in a personal injury case.

Medical Conditions That Might Interfere With Your Enjoyment of Life

Consider the effect of the following medical conditions on your quality of life:

  • Amputation
  • Chronic pain
  • Disfigurement that affects your self-esteem and your social interactions
  • Hearing loss
  • Infertility resulting from medical malpractice or an accident
  • Loss of taste and smell, impacting your ability to enjoy food and beverages
  • Nerve damage resulting in loss of bodily sensation or function
  • Organ damage that leads to various long-term health issues
  • Partial or total blindness
  • Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)
  • Respiratory issues like asthma or COPD that limit your physical activity
  • Severe burns resulting in scarring and disfigurement
  • Severe depression that impacts your motivation and your ability to feel pleasure
  • Spinal cord injury leading to paralysis
  • Traumatic brain injury resulting in cognitive impairment

These are just a few examples of how an injury or illness arising from an accident can negatively impact your enjoyment of life. 

Components of a Loss of Enjoyment of Life Claim

Remember that you must have actually engaged in certain activities to suffer damages for loss of enjoying them. For example, if you went bowling once every six months before the accident, it’s unlikely a court would award you damages just because your injury prevented you from bowling.

Here are some potential components of a loss of enjoyment claim:

  • Loss of the ability to engage in hobbies and recreational activities (e.g., playing tennis, playing the guitar, and gardening)
  • Diminished capacity for physical intimacy or sexual activity (don’t confuse this with “loss of consortium,” which is another claim altogether)
  • Inability to travel
  • Inability to participate in social events
  • Difficulty performing daily activities such as bathing, dressing, and cooking
  • Inability to pursue educational goals
  • Loss of the ability to drive
  • Loss of independence and reliance on others for assistance
  • Inability to attend worship services

This is not an exhaustive list. Essentially, you can seek damages for any (legal) activity that you once enjoyed but can no longer participate in due to your injuries.

Proving Your Loss of Enjoyment of Life Claim: Evidence

It’s one matter to assert a claim—but it’s another matter to prove it. So, how do you prove a loss of enjoyment of life claim? 

Here are a few ways:

  • Expert testimony, which you might need to prove a specific dollar amount
  • Medical records
  • Testimony from family members, friends, or coworkers
  • Photographs or videos
  • Your pain journal – a diary about the limitations and suffering your injuries have caused
  • Documentation of any hobbies you participated in before your injury, plus evidence of your inability to continue your hobbies
  • Psychological evaluations and reports
  • Testimony from rehabilitation or physical therapy professionals
  • Evidence of any assistive devices or modifications to your home or vehicle
  • Statements from social groups or clubs that you were part of (confirming your reduced participation)
  • Records of any medications you are taking for pain management
  • Documentation of missed events or activities

You can use this evidence in settlement negotiations even if your claim never goes to court.

Potential Limitations on the Value of Your Claim

The following factors can limit the value of your total claim, including the “loss of enjoyment of life” component.

  • Insurance coverage limitations: The at-fault party’s insurance policy will not be unlimited, and neither will their pocketbook.
  • Shared fault: Your claim value will be reduced if the accident was partly your fault. For example, sharing 40% of the blame for a car accident will result in a 40% reduction in your take-home amount.
  • Pre-existing injury: If your injuries predated the accident, the defendant did not cause them and is therefore not liable for them. Insurance companies often use “pre-existing injury” as a legal weapon against claimants.

Many other factors might limit the value of your claim.  

Beware: The Statute of Limitations

The statute of limitations tells you how much time you have to file a lawsuit before your claim dies. In general, Arizona allows two years from the date of the accident, while New Mexico allows three years. There are exceptions, so talk to your lawyer about this issue. 

Your Personal Injury Claim Might Be Worth More Than You Think

Loss of enjoyment of life is only one aspect of a claim for compensation that you’re likely to be able to assert after suffering an injury. Hiring a lawyer increases your chances for success in all aspects of your case, including economic, non-economic, and punitive damages. 

Remember – personal injury lawyers only charge legal fees if they win your case, and their fees amount to a percentage of your recovery.

Contact the Arizona Personal Injury Lawyers at Curiel & Runion Car Accident and Personal Injury Lawyers Today

If you were injured in an accident in Phoenix, AZ, and need legal help, contact our Phoenix personal injury attorneys at Curiel & Runion Car Accident and Personal Injury Lawyers to schedule a free case review today.

Curiel & Runion Car Accident and Personal Injury Lawyers
1221 E Osborn Rd. Suite 201
Phoenix, AZ 85014
(602) 595-5559