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Loss Of The Enjoyment Of Life

I was recently asked if the law compensates an injured victim from an accident regarding their loss of the enjoyment of life. If so, how does one quantify or measure in a dollar amount what that loss may be? Is it allowed under Wisconsin law?

WI Civil Jury instruction 1750.2 in part, reads as follows:
“Personal injuries include pain, suffering, and disability (disfigurement) which means physical pain, worry, distress, embarrassment and humiliation which (plaintiff) has suffered in the past and is reasonably certain to suffer in the future. You should consider also to what extent (his) (her) injuries have impaired and will impair (his) (her) ability to enjoy the normal activities, pleasures, and benefits of life. Consider the nature of (plaintiff)s’ injuries, the effect produced by (plaintiff)s’ injuries in the past, and the effect the injuries are reasonably certain to produce in the future, bearing in mind (plaintiff)’s age, prior mental and physical condition, and the probable duration of (his) (her) life.”

It would seem that the issue about the loss of enjoyment of life is more suited to catastrophic types of injuries than the average “soft tissue” injury type of cases, where someone is in a car accident and their neck and back are sore for several months. In those cases, most injured persons make a complete recovery. If the case went to trial, does this type of an instruction to the jury make sense? However, if someone is in a serious rollover accident and breaks their neck, and they can never walk again, or work again, one can see how this instruction could weigh heavily on the juror’s minds for what to compensate the injured party. While it still may be difficult for the jurors to quantify into a dollar amount, the lawyers can argue on closing how the person should be compensated, and some way, some how, in each individual juror’s own sense of justice, fairness and every day experiences, decide what amount of money should be awarded to an injured party who clearly has a claim for the “loss of enjoyment of life.”

For more information, WI JI-CIVIL 1750.2 “Personal injuries; Past and Future: One Verdict Question (Except past loss of earnings and past medical expenses).

Do you have questions on how you can be compensated if injured in a car accident or other trauma related case? Contact the experienced personal injury lawyers at Karp & Iancu, S.C. for a confidential consultation.

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