Damages in Florida personal injury actions are awarded with the intent of compensating plaintiffs monetarily for their losses. As our Palm Beach personal injury lawyers know, damages that first come to mind are things like medical expenses, loss of income, loss of earning capacity, and pain and suffering. But beyond the physical pain one has endured, there’s also the emotional response to that pain, which often includes the reasonable withdrawal from meaningful activities and relationships a person once enjoyed. This is what we refer to as “loss of enjoyment of life.”
Some jurisdictions include “loss of enjoyment of life” as part of the pain and suffering damage award, while others consider it a separate category of damages all its own. Florida considers loss of enjoyment of life to be its own separate category of damages.
Let’s say that prior to a Palm Beach car accident, the plaintiff (injured person) was active in going to the gym, participating in recreational sports, volunteering with a local charity, and engaging in a satisfying physical relationship with their spouse. After the crash, they’re no longer able to enjoy any of those things, at least not in the same way as they once did. That’s loss of enjoyment of life.
The person would have been able to lead a normal lifestyle had it not been for the injury, but now they can’t. For this deprivation – in the past as well as what will be experienced in the future – plaintiffs can seek damages for loss of enjoyment of life.
As noted in Florida Civil Jury Instructions 501.2, there’s no exact standard for measuring such damage. It must, however, be “fair and just in the light of the evidence.” Non-economic damages such as loss of enjoyment of life are typically only awarded in Florida when one can prove that their injuries were serious and usually permanent.
The types of injuries that can impair your ability to enjoy life may include:
- Traumatic brain injuries
- Spinal cord injuries
- Soft tissue injuries
- Injuries resulting in chronic pain
- Loss of sight or hearing
- Severe scarring or disfigurement