Injuries after a car accident can be overwhelming and devastating. Each day you may be faced with physical pain that takes a toll on your emotional and physical health. You may also be facing the loss of enjoyment of life.
After a car accident that was not your fault, you may be entitled to compensation. There are three types of damages you might be awarded. They are economic damages, non-economic damages, and punitive damages.
Economic damages are those which have an objective price tag, such as medical expenses or lost wages. Punitive damages are only awarded by a court and are the result of a lawsuit, but an award of this type is rare. They are typically awarded as punishment for the defendant’s behavior that was especially egregious.
Non-economic damages are not tangible losses and can be more difficult to prove. For example, pain and suffering, loss of consortium, or loss of enjoyment of life are non-economic damages. The court can award compensation for loss of enjoyment of life when your personal injury attorney can provide sufficient evidence of your loss.
The St. Louis car accident attorneys of OnderLaw, LLC have nearly two decades of experience helping people injured in car accidents recover non-economic damages, including compensation for loss of enjoyment of life. For help pursuing your claim, call OnderLaw, LLC today at (314) 963-9000 or contact us online for a free consultation. We will review the details of your claim and discuss how we can help.
What Is Loss of Enjoyment of Life?
The term “loss of enjoyment of life” seems rather straightforward. Yet, there is a legal definition that must be met for the court to award damages. From a legal standpoint, when the victim of a car accident is unable to do specific things that they could do prior to getting hurt, that inability can qualify as a loss of enjoyment of life.
The inability must be related to the injuries, loss of function, pain, or other factors directly related to the accident in question. For example, there are specific injuries that tend to fall into this category, including:
- Spinal cord damage
- Partial or complete paralysis or loss of a limb
- Loss of sight or hearing
- Significant burns that affect function and pain
- Loss of the ability to get quality sleep, a common occurrence after a head injury
- Depression and anxiety
- Soft tissue injury that impairs movement
- Chronic pain
- Scarring and disfigurement
These types of injuries are likely to inhibit a person’s ability to do activities of daily living or hinder their ability to enjoy hobbies. It is also worth noting that issues with loss of enjoyment of life can trigger additional mental health problems, such as insomnia, drug abuse, or suicide. Examples of evidence that can help to prove you suffered a loss of enjoyment of life include, but are not limited to:
- Inability to engage and hobbies and recreational activities you enjoyed before the accident
- Inability to engage in family bonding activities that were common in your family before the accident
- Inability to travel
- Inability to pursue the career or job you had before the accident
- Loss of social encounters with friends
How Do You Prove It?
To qualify for compensation for loss of enjoyment of life, you must prove that it stems specifically from the injuries related to the accident in question. Your St. Louis car accident attorney will work with you to gather evidence to prove this to the court. Evidence that can be used includes:
- Medical and psychiatric records
- Rehabilitation records
- Expert statements
- Medical prognosis
- Statements from friends and colleagues
Proving loss of enjoyment of life is essentially a comparison between the plaintiff’s life before the accident and after the accident. Because there are no receipts to prove you enjoyed activities before the accident, it’s helpful to have photographic evidence that you did enjoy the activities you participated in. A physician or physical therapist can also discuss how your physical loss impacts your daily living activities.
How Is Compensation Calculated for Loss of Enjoyment of Life?
Several factors are considered when putting a dollar value on your loss of enjoyment of life. These factors include:
- Your age and overall health
- The severity and location of the injuries
- The immediate and long-term ramifications of the injury
- The types of activity you can no longer engage in
- Your career and educational background
- Whether the damage is permanent
- The extent and location of scarring or disfigurement
- The potential for long-term consequences
There Is Limited Time to Recover Damages
St. Louis and East St. Louis straddle the Mississippi River across Missouri and Illinois. Depending on where the accident occurred, your claim may follow Missouri or Illinois law. One of the laws that is crucial to consider is the statute of limitations.
The law allows a person injured in an accident a limited time to file a personal injury lawsuit to recover damages. This is called the statute of limitations. If a lawsuit is not filed within the time allowed, you relinquish your right to pursue a legal claim against the defendant.
The statute of limitations in Missouri is five years from the date the injury is discovered, and in Illinois, it is two years from the date of the accident. Although this sounds like a long time, it can go quickly. In the early months, you may be recovering from significant physical damage. Negotiating with the at-fault party’s insurance company can also take time.
If negotiations are not fruitful and you decide to file a lawsuit, it takes time to gather the appropriate evidence and file the necessary paperwork. To protect your legal rights, it’s essential you work with a St. Louis personal injury attorney as soon as possible after the accident.
Call the Car Accident Attorneys of OnderLaw, LLC Today
The experienced and skilled St. Louis car accident attorneys of OnderLaw, LLC understand the physical, emotional, and financial burden that happens after a car accident. The at-fault party’s insurance company is well represented by legal counsel and professional insurance adjusters. They will not protect your legal rights to recover compensation for your injuries and losses.
You should have a skilled legal team on your side. Call our office today at (314) 963-9000 to schedule your free consultation. You need quality legal representation to protect your rights and help you recover fair compensation for your injuries.