Diminished quality of life is a type of non-economic damage a person can receive for a personal injury claim. Injuries that cause chronic pain, disabilities, and permanent impairments can reduce a person’s quality of life.
Quality of life can be defined in several different ways. For example, some people refer to quality of life as the person’s standard of living. However, quality of life can also be measured by how satisfied or dissatisfied a person is with their current state of living.
You can also measure quality of life in terms of how a person’s physical, emotional, or financial condition impacts their enjoyment of life. Quality of life can also refer to standards, value systems, expectations, and culture.
How Can an Accident or Personal Injury Impact a Person’s Overall Quality of Life?
The type and severity of an injury can impact quality of life. The trauma from being in an accident and the injuries sustained can cause physical and emotional damage.
A decrease in a person’s quality of life after sustaining an injury can occur when a person:
- Cannot take care of their personal needs, such as bathing, dressing, and feeding themselves
- Is unable to return to their ordinary activities, hobbies, and routines
- Cannot engage in intimate relations
- Sustains significant scarring or disfigurement
- Experiences debilitating depression or anxiety
- Cannot maintain close relationships because of psychological damages
- Is unable to work or perform physical tasks
The above list is not exhaustive. The person’s life before the accident or personal injury is a factor in determining diminished quality of life. Some people are more active than others.
How Do You Determine Diminished Quality of Life for a St. Petersburg Personal Injury Claim?
Each person is unique, so their quality of life is different. You must analyze the person’s life before and after the injury to determine the extent of the decrease in quality of life. Factors that we use to determine how much a person’s quality of life decreases because of a personal injury include:
- The type and severity of the injury
- Whether the injury caused a permanent impairment or disability
- The person’s appearance before and after the injury
- The doctor’s prognosis and opinions from expert witnesses
- A person’s overall health and enjoyment of life before the injury compared to now
- Whether a person can return to the same activities
- Attempts by the person to mitigate damages and improve their quality of life after the accident
- The ability to care for basic personal needs
- Testimony from the victim, family members, and friends
- The impact of the injuries on the person’s relationships with other individuals
Generally, the more severe the impact on a person’s quality of life, the greater the value of a diminished quality of life claim. However, there is no standard formula used to assign a monetary figure to quality of life claims.
How Do Insurance Companies and Juries Assign an Amount for Diminished Quality of Life?
Insurance companies often undervalue and minimize claims for decreases in quality of life. Unless a person sustains a substantial disability or amputation, the insurance company downplays how much the claim is worth.
The multiplier method might be used to place a value on non-economic damages, including diminished quality of life. A number between 1.5 and five is multiplied by the total of the person’s economic damages. The result is the value of non-economic damages.
The more severe the impact on the person’s life, the higher the number used to calculate the value. For example, a person who sustains complete paralysis because of a spinal cord injury might be assigned 5 as a multiplier. On the other hand, a case involving a sprain or strain might receive a multiplier of 1.5.
In a personal injury lawsuit, the parties use factors like those listed above to determine an injury’s impact on a person’s quality of life. A skilled personal injury lawyer uses the evidence in the case to develop a compelling narrative that describes how the injury impacted the victim’s life. The more detailed and vivid the evidence, the better chance the person has of receiving a fair settlement or jury award.
What Is the Deadline for Filing a Diminished Quality of Life Claim in Florida?
Claims for decreased quality of life are included in the demand for non-economic damages. Therefore, the deadline to file a claim would be the same deadline for filing a lawsuit in your case.
Most personal injury cases in Florida have a two-year statute of limitations (as of March 24, 2023 — before that time, the deadline for negligence cases was four years).
You must file your lawsuit before the deadline or lose your right to pursue a claim in court.
However, there are exceptions. Talking to a personal injury attorney as soon as possible after an injury is the best way to avoid problems with filing deadlines.
Schedule a Free Consultation With Our St. Petersburg Personal Injury Lawyers
At Lopez Law Group Accident Injury Attorneys, your best interests are our top priority. We work to get you the best possible outcome for your injury claim. Contact our law office to schedule your free case evaluation with a St. Petersburg personal injury attorney at (727) 933-0015.