Quality of Life
An injured person experiences numerous types of damages. Economic damages represent the financial losses and expenses associated with the accident, injuries, and recovery. They include the cost of medical treatment and loss of income.
An injured person also experiences non-economic damages. These damages represent the pain and suffering a person experiences after being injured in an accident or other incident. An often-overlooked type of damage that has significant impacts on a person’s future is diminished quality of life.
What Is Quality of Life?
Defining a person’s quality of living can be challenging.
To define quality of life, you must look at a person’s:
- Health-related quality of life
- An overall sense of life satisfaction
- Access to health care and public health options
- A person’s daily activities
- The person’s expectations, value systems, standards, and culture, according to the World Health Organization
- A person’s enjoyment of life or dissatisfaction with their life
The term “quality of life” can mean many things. However, in the context of a personal injury case, it refers to the negative changes to a person’s life because of injuries and disabling conditions. A diminished quality of life claim seeks compensation for this change.
Personal Injuries That Can Affect Quality of Life
An injury you recover fully from might not impact your quality of life. However, catastrophic injuries and permanent impairments can significantly impact your daily activities, sense of self, ability to work, and relationships.
Injuries that can impact your quality of life include, but are not limited to:
- Spinal cord injuries
- Severe burns and disfigurement
- Traumatic brain injuries
- Amputations and loss of limbs
- Losing your hearing or vision
- Injuries to internal organs
- Childhood injuries that result in developmental delays or permanent impairments
- Loss of bodily functions
The value of a diminished quality of life claim depends on several factors.
For example, what was your quality of life before the accident? Did you have a high quality of life? Do your injuries impact your ability to work, care for your family, or have intimate relations with your partner?
You must consider all of the factors that impact quality of life and compare those factors before and after the injury. That’s how you’ll determine the injury’s ultimate effect on your life.
Factors to Consider When Calculating the Value of a Quality of Life Claim
Injury lawyers, insurance companies, and juries consider a wide variety of factors when placing a value on diminished quality of life. Factors that you should consider include:
- The person’s overall health before and after the injury
- The person’s age and life expectancy before and after the injury
- The evaluation and prognosis by doctors and medical experts
- A person’s education, skills, and work experience
- The person’s attempts to mitigate damages and improve the quality of life after an injury
- The injured person’s appearance before and after the injury
- Testimony from family, friends, and mental health professionals about how the injuries impact the person’s daily life and relations
- Activities the person cannot perform after the accident
- A personal social standing and personality
The changes in a person’s daily life impact their quality of life. For example, being unable to work in a chosen career, engage in activities with family members, have intimate relations with another person, and participate in recreational or social activities significantly changes a person’s lifestyle.
The changes caused by permanent impairments and disability can result in severe depression, anxiety, PTSD, and other emotional and mental health conditions. A person may experience a significant loss of companionship, affection, and society because of their injuries. A person may also experience severe embarrassment and shame if they need help with feeding, bathing, dressing, and other activities of daily life.
Furthermore, ongoing medical treatment can cause chronic pain and distress. Therefore, all of these factors must be considered when calculating the value of a quality of life claim.
Proving a Diminished Quality of Life Claim
Insurance companies challenge quality of life claims. Therefore, you have the burden of proving that an injury or condition has significantly decreased your quality of life.
A personal injury lawyer has the resources to retain experts to evaluate your case and provide expert opinions and testimony. They also understand the legal elements of this type of claim and the evidence necessary to prove your case.
If you sustain traumatic injuries in an accident, it is a strong indication that you need legal advice. Dealing directly with the insurance company or accepting a settlement offer could result in a much lower settlement amount than your personal injury claim is worth.
Schedule a Free Consultation with Our New York Personal Injury Lawyers
Decreased quality of life impacts numerous areas of your personal and professional relationships and activities. Our legal team works to get you the compensation you deserve. Contact our law office or call us at (212) 514-5007 to schedule a free consultation with our experienced New York personal injury attorneys.