Just about everyone knows, or thinks they know, what “quality of life” is. It gets trickier, however, when you file a personal injury claim for economic and non-economic damages. “Diminished quality of life” is one component of a Colorado non-economic damages claim that can add up to quite a bit of money under the right circumstances.
Diminished quality of life is a common consequence when a catastrophic injury dramatically impacts your lifestyle. The following medical conditions, for example, can affect your quality of life:
Claiming “pain and suffering” for chronic pain is not the same as claiming lost quality of life because you can no longer go to the gym. You can file both of these claims at the same time.
Some of the kinds of losses that make up such a claim might include the loss of:
This is not a complete list-–your lost quality of life claim might also include other losses that don’t appear here.
Depending on the facts surrounding your claim, a defendant can try to use the following ways to diminish the value of your claim or even force you to abandon your claim altogether.
The very presence of a credible claim to such limitations and defenses can affect even the settlement value of your claim.
The defendant can have the judge dismiss your claim if you are at least 50% at fault for the accident. If you were less than 50% at fault (20% at fault, for example), the defendant can ask the judge to deduct that percentage of your damages that corresponds to your exact percentage of fault.
This deduction will come out of all of your damages, including your claim for lost quality of life.
No matter how much your claim is worth, an insurance company will pay no more than its policy limits. You can still seek the remainder out of the defendant’s pocket, if they can afford to pay.
The Colorado personal injury statute of limitations sets the deadline for filing a personal injury claim. Most personal injury cases either have a two-year or three-year deadline. If you miss the statute of limitations, the defendant can ask the judge to dismiss your claim, and the judge will certainly do so.
Since the testimony of an expert is inherently credible, hiring an expert to help you establish your diminished quality of life claim is one of the best ways of winning it.
Insurance companies love to blame claimants for their own injuries. If they can’t blame the accident itself on the claimant, they can claim that the claimant’s injuries (a back injury, for example) predate the accident.
In this way, they will be disputing the causation element of your claim. The claim would be that the accident in question is not what actually caused your injuries.
Colorado places a statutory limit on overall non-economic damages. In 2023 the limit amounted to about $600,000. The limit increases slightly every year to account for cost of living increases.
Most people underestimate the value of their potential non-economic damages. If you decide to represent yourself, you will carry those low expectations into negotiations. That is why it is so important for you to retain an experienced, persuasive Denver personal injury lawyer to help you establish the true value of your economic damages.