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What is Loss of Enjoyment of Life?


Home » Helpful Houston Personal Injury Information » What is Loss of Enjoyment of Life?

A serious injury can affect your life in numerous ways. Some effects — such as physical pain, medical expenses, and lost wages — are immediate and obvious. Others, especially ones that affect your emotional and psychological well-being, are more subtle and can take weeks, months, and even years to fully unfold. 

As dedicated personal injury attorneys in Houston, we believe that plaintiffs deserve compensation for all of their accident-related losses, whether or not they’re immediately apparent. One particularly life-altering damage that often presents latently is called “loss of enjoyment of life,” and many injury victims don’t realize they can include it in their settlement demand. 

If you suffered injuries and losses in an accident caused by someone else, you deserve compensation. This article will explore the nature of loss of enjoyment of life, including examples, types, and equivalencies, as well as how to prove loss of enjoyment in your injury case. 

Unsure about the compensation you’re due? Calculating damages in Texas accident cases is easier said than done, especially without expert legal assistance. Don’t worry: Baumgartner Law Firm is here to help! Schedule a free consultation with us to get started.  

Understanding Loss of Enjoyment of Life Damages in Texas

In the legal world, “damages” refer to financial compensation awarded to plaintiffs for accident-related losses. The compensation awarded in most personal injury case settlements are various compensatory damages intended to compensate for losses. Still, in rare cases, a court will also order the defendant to pay punitive damages as a punishment.

Texas courts have determined that loss of enjoyment of life or physical impairment is a separate element of damages. In other words, courts will assess this damage without conflating it with missed wages or emotional distress. This is an important distinction, as courts cannot lump physical impairment together with other losses, and separate damage can lead to additional compensation. 

Texas does not have a clear legal definition of loss of enjoyment of life. However, it is a well-established non-economic damage like emotional distress, disfigurement, and other emotional/psychological issues. 

Equivalence to “Physical Impairment” 

You may have heard the term “loss of enjoyment of life,” a damage awarded for an inability to enjoy life like before an accident. In Texas, loss of enjoyment of life is roughly equivalent to physical impairment. Generally speaking, physical impairment occurs when you lose the ability to engage in activities you once enjoyed. This loss must be physical and involve activities that require movement. 

It’s important to note that loss of enjoyment of life t has nothing to do with your inability to work. Rather, it involves extra-curricular or non-essential activities that provide joy and fulfillment. You can pursue compensation for loss of enjoyment even if you’re not eligible to pursue compensation for lost wages.

With all that said, your impairment or loss of enjoyment must be severe enough to create a distinct loss of enjoyment. Minor physical ailments may not be eligible to receive this damage, and you must establish that your injuries completely prevent you from enjoying active endeavors to pursue this type of compensation.

Examples of Loss of Enjoyment

One example of physical impairment might involve severe knee injuries suffered in a car accident. The plaintiff may recover to the point where they can return to work in an office, and their knee injuries may not affect their earning capacity. However, the plaintiff may lose the ability to walk their dog, which could qualify as a loss of enjoyment of life. 

In some cases, a plaintiff’s injuries qualify them for lost wages and loss of enjoyment or physical impairment damages. For example, imagine the plaintiff used to enjoy playing pick-up basketball games every weekend before suffering a devastating slip-and-fall accident that resulted in paralysis. Before the accident, they worked in construction, but they could no longer perform their job duties — or play basketball. In this case, they may be eligible to collect compensation for both lost wages and physical impairment/loss of enjoyment. 

Types of Loss of Enjoyment

There are two main types of loss of enjoyment: Permanent and temporary loss of enjoyment. You can recover compensation for both. 

Permanent Loss of Enjoyment

Permanent loss occurs when your injuries prevent you from engaging in the activities you once loved ever again. This is associated with serious disabilities, such as amputations, paralysis, and so on. However, it is possible to face permanent physical impairment with relatively minor injuries. For example, a torn ligament may heal to the point where you can walk comfortably, but you may continue to experience debilitating stiffness and pain whenever you attempt to run. 

Temporary Loss of Enjoyment

Temporary physical impairment occurs when you cannot engage in beloved activities for a set period. For example, a serious brain injury may leave an amateur hiker unable to walk, subsequently requiring months of rehabilitation. After undergoing physical therapy, they regain their mobility. Even though they can walk again, they are still eligible for physical impairment or loss of enjoyment of life damages and loss of hiking experiences during their recovery period. 

How Do I Prove Loss of Enjoyment in Texas?

In some cases, loss of enjoyment may be “inferred.” In other words, your impairment is so obvious that you do not need to prove its existence to a judge. Examples include total paralysis, severe brain injuries, and so on. In other cases, you may need to help the court understand how your injuries have affected your life by explaining why you can no longer engage in sports, hobbies, or other active endeavors. 

You may also need to establish that you actively engaged in these activities before the accident. For example, you might show records or photographs that prove participation in a sports league. Your attorney can help you compile and submit the pertinent evidence to the court. 

Baumgartner Law Firm: Leading Personal Injury Attorneys in Houston, TX

Each personal injury lawsuit is slightly different, and plaintiffs suffer various damages. To receive personalized advice based on your specific situation, booking a consultation with a qualified injury attorney in Houston is a good idea. These legal professionals can review the details of your case and help determine whether you have suffered physical impairment. They can also help you identify negligent parties, file a lawsuit, calculate damages, and pursue maximum compensation. 

If you suffered life-altering injuries in an accident you didn’t cause, you shouldn’t be the one footing the bill for your losses. Luckily, you don’t have to when you partner with a top-tier law group like Baumgartner Law Firm. Ready to take control of your future? Schedule a free consultation to speak with a compassionate personal injury attorney. 

About Our Law Firm

Baumgartner Law Firm is a Houston personal injury law firm headed by Greg Baumgartner.

Our firm was established in 1985 and has helped thousands of injury victims get maximum compensation for their cases. If you have been injured in an accident in Houston, TX, contact us for a free, no-obligation consultation. (281) 587-1111.

Since 1985, Baumgartner Law Firm has limited our law practice to serious personal injury cases. Our legal team has won maximum compensation for thousands of accident victims and recovered millions of dollars for real people like you. The practice areas we focus on are the following:
·     Auto & Car Accidents
·     Catastrophic and Severe Injuries
·     Construction Site Accidents
·     Daycare Negligence & Child Injury
·     Dram Shop Lawsuits
·     Drunk Driving Accidents
·     Lyft Accidents
·     Motorcycle Accidents
·     Personal Injury
·     Truck Accidents
·     Uber Accidents
·     Work Injury
·     Wrongful Death

Helping these areas around Houston

Houston, Sugar LandConroeThe WoodlandsCypressSpring, Humble, KatyAtascocita, Kingwood and Tomball.

Related Resources:

Compassionate Advocates for Consortium Claims in Texas

The Most Common Injuries in Truck Accidents

What to Do After a Delivery Truck Accident

Concussion Effects After an Accident