Loss of Enjoyment of Life Damages and Personal Injury CasesJune 28, 2018 | Category: Personal Injury | Share
Florida law — like that of other states — gives those who have been injured in an accident (that was caused by the negligence or wrongful acts of another) the right to sue and recover a wide range of damages. Many plaintiffs don’t realize how extensive these damages can be.
In the context of personal injury, damages can be split into two categories: economic and non-economic.
Economic damages are quite easy to wrap one’s head around. They are objective damages that account for specific financial losses, such as medical expenses and wage loss, or property loss. For example, if your car is destroyed in a motor vehicle collision, you would likely be entitled to include the loss of your car as a component of your overall damages claim.
Non-economic damages are subjective, by contrast, and are associated with losses that are experiential in nature — in other words, the losses are felt firsthand, and are filtered through the lens/perception of the injured person. Non-economic losses in Florida include pain and suffering, which itself is a broad category.
Loss of enjoyment of life (LEL) damages are fundamentally a non-economic loss. Though it may seem difficult to measure LEL damages, injured plaintiffs are absolutely entitled under Florida law to sue and recover such damages.
How do LEL damages work? Let’s take a brief look.
LEL Damages as a Component of Pain and Suffering
According to Florida Jury Instruction 501.2 on personal injury damages, LEL damages form a core component of “pain and suffering” damages. LEL damages account for losses associated with the plaintiff’s ability to take pleasure in living — this may include recreational and social activities, or even relational activities such as time spent with one’s spouse, including sexual intercourse.
For example, if you slip-and-fall on the defendant’s premises, and as a result, your spine is injured, you may no longer be able to swim. If you are a long-time swimmer and it is a crucial recreational activity that defines your lifestyle (i.e., perhaps your friends-group is full of swimmers, you coach swimming, etc.), then your enjoyment of life will clearly be affected by the spinal injury.
LEL Damages Must Be Fair and Just in Light of the Evidence
LEL damages are inherently subjective. There is no objective measurement for the enjoyment one experiences and the loss thereof. Florida courts therefore give a great deal of leeway to injured plaintiffs to make a persuasive claim for LEL damages (and pain and suffering damages, generally). The damages must be fair and just in light of the evidence, however. One cannot make an excessive claim that is not supported by the evidence. On the other hand, if you can gather sufficient evidence to support your claim (i.e., evidence that your inability to enjoy normal recreational activities has led to deteriorated feelings of self-worth and a downward spiral in your social life), you may be able to secure significant damages for loss of enjoyment.
Contact a Skilled Fort Myers Personal Injury Lawyer for Legal Assistance
In particularly severe accidents, the injured may not only suffer losses related to their medical expenses, earnings, and property, but may also experience a significant degradation in their ability to enjoy their life. Such damages — LEL damages — are recoverable pursuant to Florida law, but making an effective claim requires the skilled advocacy of a qualified personal injury attorney.
Interested in speaking to an attorney for assistance?
Call (888) 477-4839 today or submit an online case evaluation form to schedule a free and confidential consultation with an experienced Fort Myers personal injury lawyer at the Spivey Law Firm, Personal Injury Attorneys, P.A. Attorney Randall Spivey has an extensive and consistent history of success in securing favorable verdicts and settlements on behalf of our clients, many of which involved loss of enjoyment of life issues.
We look forward to helping you obtain the compensation you deserve.