Massachusetts Legal Blog
Understanding Loss of Enjoyment in Personal Injury Claims
When preparing to file a personal injury claim, you may have come upon the term “non-economic damages.” These types of compensation refer to the personal damages you have suffered due to an injury, often related to the amount of pain you had to deal with, mental trauma, and emotional distress. Many claims also include “loss of enjoyment,” which is another broad term that most accident victims do not understand and can cause some confusion when determining how much your case is worth.
Loss of Enjoyment Damages Explained
Loss of enjoyment describes how an accident has affected your ability to enjoy certain activities, hobbies, interests, and life in general. It is not uncommon for accident victims to develop depression or anxiety that is related to their injury. For example, after a traumatic bike accident, you may find it difficult to bike along your favorite routes again. Car accident victims often suffer from anxiety attacks when they try to go for a drive, even if it is just up and down the block. Sometimes these conditions are related to a traumatic brain injury and can be treated with therapy and medication.
However, loss of enjoyment does not have to specifically relate to the accident. While it can be as broad as generalized depression regarding your injury, you can also experience a loss of enjoyment for specific activities and hobbies. For example, let’s say that a high school football player broke his leg in a pedestrian accident. He would be forced to skip the current season while he recovered and healed. While he may fully recover by the next season and be physically capable of playing again, the trauma of the accident and depression from missing out on a season could keep him from playing again. In this instance, he would suffer a loss of enjoyment for playing football.
Loss of enjoyment is not limited to student athletes. If your injuries made it more difficult for you to enjoy a certain hobby or interest, then that can be counted as a loss as well. Even spending time with your family can be included in your list of damages. You may no longer be able to coach your daughter’s softball team or take your kids to the park because outdoor activities aggravate your injuries. Personal relationships outside of the family, such as your dating life, events with coworkers, and group parties, may all be more difficult to sustain if you have to contend with your injuries, whether they be physical or neurological.
Even travel plans can be included in your non-economic damages. If you were planning a vacation, birthday celebration, or anniversary that was interrupted due to an accident, you likely will not be able to celebrate that event while recovering. A skilled attorney can outline how the accident directly impacted your travel plans and robbed you of that special event.
How to Prove Loss of Enjoyment in Your Claim
Because loss of enjoyment is a non-economic damage, it is hard to prove to an insurance adjuster or jury during a personal injury claim, but not impossible. While economic damages have specific bills and price tags attached to them, non-economic damages are based around various testimonies. On the one hand, if you suffered a traumatic brain injury, your doctor could testify that brain damage can cause depression and anxiety. In addition, a kinesiologist could demonstrate how catastrophic injuries can impact an athlete’s mental health.
Proving non-economic damages is often easier for debilitating injuries such as brain damage, paralysis due to spinal cord injuries, severe burns that cause scarring, and nerve damage that leads to chronic pain. For example, if a hip fracture made it difficult for a motorcyclist to ride again, loss of enjoyment damages could be supported by her inability to get on a bike without experiencing sharp pain.
Your attorney can also clearly demonstrate how a specific injury impacts your day-to-day life, relationships, and interests by collecting testimonies from friends, family, and colleagues. No one knows you better than the people who see you every day, and they may be able to explain how you are no longer going to social events or seem more secluded due to your injury.
That being said, there is no specific calculation used to determine loss of enjoyment, but it is generally added to your pain and suffering damages. If you experienced a certain level of pain after your injury for a specific number of days, then you may be able to add up those days and multiple it by a dollar amount. That dollar amount could be increased if you also suffered a loss of enjoyment. While this method is not always utilized in a claim, it can be supported by keeping a journal. As you are recovering, you can write down how you feel each day, including physical pain and how well you enjoyed your day, so you have a physical log of your damages.
Recovering loss of enjoyment in a personal injury claim is a complicated process, and each case is different. Loss of enjoyment and other non-economic damages may be calculated in several different ways that are unique to the accident or victim. Your best method of building a case for loss of enjoyment, as well as your medical bills, lost wages, and pain and suffering, is to contact an experienced Burlington personal injury attorney at DiBella Law Offices, P.C. Our legal team can review your accident and help you calculate the costs of your injuries so not a single cent is left out of your claim. To schedule a free consultation, call us at (617) 870-0907.
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