If you’ve suffered a serious injury due to someone else’s negligence, and it has had a devastating impact on your overall enjoyment of life, you may be eligible for compensation. Suing for loss of enjoyment of life in Florida is a complex process, but by understanding your legal rights and how this process works, you’ll be in the best position to pursue the legal remedies available. To make this easier, our lawyers, here at Personal Injury of Florida, aim to answer all of your questions regarding suing for loss of enjoyment of life.
The loss of enjoyment of life refers to the disruption or decrease in quality of life resulting from an injury or illness. This is a type of non-economic damage available in civil tort negligence claims, that can be brought forth by a plaintiff in a lawsuit when seeking compensation for a personal injury caused by the wrongful act or negligence of another person. This damage is designed to compensate for injuries or losses that do not have a direct, measurable financial value. As such, a plaintiff could sue for both physical and emotional components, like the inability to perform certain activities or participate in leisure pursuits that were formerly enjoyed.
Yes, when suing for loss of enjoyment of life in Florida, the plaintiff must provide evidence that their lives have been significantly impacted by their injuries. For those injured in car accidents, Florida’s no-fault system requires you to meet a personal injury threshold set out by Florida Statute 627.737, which states that the victim must have injuries that cause significant loss of bodily function, result in a permanent injury, or they have incurred an injury that causes scarring or disfigurement. This “permanent injury” threshold only applies to automobile accident cases.
Many attorneys argue that because the list of non-economic damages is only available to victims who suffer a serious injury, and loss of enjoyment of life is not on this list, it should be available to all victims through Florida’s no-fault system. Unfortunately, on two occasions – Smiley v. Nelson (2001) and Giles v. Luckie (2002)– Florida courts soundly rejected this, requiring individuals to meet the above-noted personal injury threshold.
If you do not meet the established threshold, you may still be able to sue for other types of non-economic damages, namely any emotional distress attributed to the incident. This could be from physical and emotional pain and suffering, or mental anguish caused by the injury. You may also be able to sue for “loss of consortium,” which refers to the inability to enjoy relationships with family members due to physical or emotional difficulties caused by the injury.
In personal injury cases, common ways to provide evidence include having family members or friends provide testimony about how the plaintiff’s lifestyle has changed since the accident, as well as, including medical records that document the physical or psychological effects resulting from the accident. Additionally, experts may be called upon to testify about how much money would have been earned if not for the injury and what kind of lifestyle could have been expected had it not occurred.
When determining how much compensation to award a plaintiff in a lawsuit over the loss of enjoyment of life, the court will take into account the severity and duration of the injury, how much enjoyment was lost, and any medical evidence put forth. The court will also look at factors such as the age of the plaintiff, their occupation, the type of injury sustained, and employability. Ultimately, the court will be trying to determine if the plaintiff’s ability to enjoy life has been permanently or temporarily impacted, and the degree of suffering caused by the defendant’s negligence.
The types of cases that are suitable for suing for loss of enjoyment of life in Florida could include medical malpractice, premises liability, product liability, slip and fall accidents, and automobile accidents. Suing for loss of enjoyment of life could be especially applicable in cases of permanent injuries, such as paralysis or traumatic brain injuries.
Suing for loss of enjoyment of life in Florida is a complicated, and emotionally taxing process that requires expert legal guidance. The experienced team at Personal Injury of Florida can help determine whether you are in a position to sue for loss of enjoyment of life based on the facts and circumstances of your case. You can contact us at 561-507-5700, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week for a free consultation.
March 21, 2023