What Is Loss of Enjoyment?
If you have been in an accident, your biggest concerns are getting your medical bills covered in an insurance claim. However, after doing some research and reading up on personal injury or auto accident claims, you may have discovered that you can recover more than just your medical bills. In the state of California, victims can pursue both the financial costs of an accident, or economic damages, and the personal costs, or non-economic damages. Sadly, many accident victims neglect to include the personal costs of an accident, which can include the loss of enjoyment of life. But what is a “loss of enjoyment” and how can you include it in your claim?
Understanding Non-Economic Damages
Following an injury, it is important to look at every aspect of your life that was affected by the accident. Most people stop at their medical bills, property damage, and lost wages, but you should also look at how an accident has impacted your day-to-day life. This means everything from your daily pain and suffering, emotional trauma, and even your relationships. While you may assume you can’t put a price on any of these things, the state of California allows you to when you file a claim.
With regard to loss of enjoyment, these types of costs are related to how you enjoy life. This can include activities and hobbies that brought you joy prior to the accident. If your injury made it difficult for you to continue enjoying those activities, then that would count as a cost in a personal injury claim. In California, these losses are included as part of your pain and suffering damages and are not a separate award. That being said, these are several ways to include it in your claim.
For example, let’s say you regularly went surfing each weekend at Huntington Beach. However, after your accident, you broke your leg, you have nerve damage in your shoulder, or were paralyzed due to a spinal cord injury. Any of these injuries may make it extremely painful, if not impossible, for you to go surfing for some time. Because this activity was directly affected by your accident, you could pursue compensation for it. In addition, if you surfed competitively and were unable to attend a competition due to your injury, then that could also be included in your claim and may increase its value.
Loss of enjoyment does not have to be related to a particular physical activity or hobby, however. If you are a parent and have a difficult time playing with your kids or taking them to the park, then that is considered a loss of enjoyment. Or if you suffered partial vision loss and have a difficult time reading or watching movies, then that should not be discounted in your claim. Loss of enjoyment can be related to a specific hobby or be very general.
But, like any other type of non-economic damage, loss of enjoyment is generally dismissed by insurance companies. It is significantly harder to prove on paper in a claim when compared to a medical bill or even lost wages, as it will vary from victim to victim. However, that does not mean you should ignore it, and with the right law firm, you may be able to include it in your claim.
How to Prove Loss of Enjoyment?
The most common way to prove loss of enjoyment is through witness testimony from your family members, friends, and colleagues. While you may hope that the insurance company will take you at your word, most are quick to dismiss an accident victim’s testimony. However, your friends and family can provide their own testimonies about how the accident has affected you. If you had to give up on certain activities that brought you joy, you seem more reclusive, or your relationships have deteriorated after an accident, then their testimony could prove useful.
The size of your claim will vary depending on the severity of your injury and how serious these activities were to you. If you went biking every morning and have to take a year or more off to recover, then it would be significantly higher than if you only went biking once a week. Generally, the bulk of your claim will include your medical bills, lost wages, and property damage, but loss of enjoyment damages should still be included if an accident significantly impacted your life.
Much of this will depend on whether or not you are working with a skilled attorney. Insurance companies are quick to devalue claims that accident victims file on their own and may not even consider loss of enjoyment in your case. However, if you work with an Orange County personal injury attorney at Allen, Flatt, Ballidis & Leslie, then our legal team will not leave a single dime out of your claim. We have over 40 years of experience advocating for accident victims throughout Orange County and can vigorously fight for every cost you have suffered in a claim. To learn how, contact us at (949) 752-7474 to schedule a no-cost consultation.
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