A personal injury or accident can significantly change your life. Sometimes, the changes are short-term until you heal from your injuries. In other cases, a victim must sustain a personal injury that results in a permanent disability or impairment.
Quality of life is a claim included in the non-economic damages of a personal injury claim. Illinois personal injury laws allow injured parties to seek compensation for their non-economic damages. These damages represent the pain, suffering, and other intangible damages a personal injury or accident causes.
What Is Quality of Life for a Chicago Personal Injury Claim?
People define quality of life in different ways. For some individuals, quality of life refers to their health, overall well-being, and happiness. Others might define quality of life in monetary terms – they have a better quality of life when they have more money.
There is no perfect definition of quality of life or a standard formula for calculating someone’s quality of life. Instead, many factors can impact a person’s quality of life. These factors can increase or decrease one’s quality of life.
Examples of factors used to determine quality of life include, but are not limited to:
- Participating in enjoyable and desirable activities
- The ability to work and earn a living
- Education, career opportunities, skills, and job choice
- Standard of living, including stability and wealth
- The ability to conceive and raise children
- Overall health and mental well-being
- Being able to take care of personal needs and activities of daily living
- Relationships with family, friends, coworkers, and others
- Reputation and social status
- Where a person lives
- Feeling secure and safe
Each person’s quality of life varies depending on the factors impacting their personal preferences and beliefs. A catastrophic injury can impact a person’s quality of life regardless of all other factors. The injury can change a person’s life in unimaginable ways until it happens to them.
Factors Used To Calculate the Value of a Diminished Quality of Life Claim for Personal Injury Cases
All injuries have the potential to impact quality of life. The severity of the impact depends on all relevant factors, including the person’s life, appearance, and abilities before and after the accident.
Factors that we use to determine the severity of an injury’s impact on a person’s quality of life include, but are not limited to:
- The type of injuries the person sustained
- The treatments the person received and/or will receive in the future
- The impairments and disabilities caused by the injury
- A person’s appearance before and after the injury or accident
- The victim’s age
- Activities that the person cannot perform now because of the accident, such as extracurricular activities, sports, and hobbies
- Whether the person lost the ability to have intimate relations with another person, including bearing children
- The extent to which a person needs assistance with daily life activities, including bathing, dressing, grooming, and eating
- The prognosis by doctors and medical specialists
- The level of scarring or disfigurement caused by the accident or injury
- The extent the injuries impact the person’s relationships with other people
Determining how an injury impacts a person’s life depends on the person and specific circumstances relevant to their situation. The same injury could have vastly different impacts on different people.
Using the Multiplier Method To Calculate How Much a Quality of Life Claim Is Worth
There is no standard formula for placing a value on quality of life claims. However, the multiplier method is a generally accepted standard for calculating the value of non-economic damages, including diminished quality of life. Even so, there are still disputes regarding how to choose the multiplier for a case.
First, you choose a multiplier between 1.5 and five. The number increases as the negative impacts on quality of life caused by an injury increase.
For example, a case of whiplash might have a multiplier of 1.5 or 2.0 if the person recovers in a few weeks with no permanent impairments. However, a broken vertebrae in the neck that causes complete paralysis could have a multiplier of 5.0. That’s because this type of injury impacts nearly every area of the person’s life forever.
Factors like those described above are used to choose a multiplier. Testimony from expert witnesses, doctors, the injured party, family members, and friends can be used to demonstrate an injury’s impact on a person’s quality of life. Medical records, employment records, and other documentary evidence can also be introduced.
When the parties agree on a number or a jury decides a number for them, the total financial losses the victim incurred (i.e., economic damages) is multiplied by the number. The result is the value of the non-economic damages, including a decrease in quality of life.
Schedule a Free Consultation With Our Chicago Personal Injury Lawyers
You deserve compensation for all damages, including the impact injuries have on your enjoyment or quality of life. Contact our law firm to schedule a free consultation with one of our experienced Chicago personal injury attorneys. At Attorneys of Chicago Personal Injury Lawyers we will fight to obtain maximum compensation for your personal injury claim. Call us today at (312) 929 2884.