Quality of life (QOL) has different meanings in different contexts, but in regards to personal injury, it refers to an individual’s general health, well-being and ability to enjoy normal areas of life.
These areas include daily life activities: caring for oneself, caring for dependents, and earning a livelihood, as well as recreational activities. The term QOL is broad and can encompass many different factors that add up to the overall picture of an individual’s good quality of life.
In a personal injury case, diminished quality of life refers to the reduction in an individual’s ability to enjoy life in the same manner following injury in an accident. A “diminished quality of life” may refer to a lessening of the person’s ability to perform certain tasks, to enjoy certain activities or a decreased ability to earn income.
What are Some Examples of Injuries Involved in Diminished Quality of Life?
This category is also broad, as various injuries that limit a person’s ability to enjoy the life activities described above. However, some common injuries which diminish QOL include:
- Loss of a limb
- Head/brain trauma
Are there any Legal Remedies for Diminished Quality of Life?
If you have an injury in a accident, and file a lawsuit for personal injury, you will be awarded damages in the event of your success. Damages factor in the diminished quality of life, as well as medical bills, and pain and suffering.
Can Anything Reduce Your Chances of Recovery for a Diminished QOL Claim?
While a diminished qualify of life claim is based on the injuries the plaintiff suffered, it is possible that the compensation for the damages can be lowered due to actions (or lack of action) on the plaintiff’s part. These two theories of law can lower the overall compensation for a diminished QOL claim:
- Contributory Negligence: in cases in which there is a question of liability, the defendant to the claim will try to prove that they were either not responsible, or are only partially responsible for the injury to the person bringing the lawsuit (the plaintiff) against them.
- Contributory negligence is a term referring to the idea that the plaintiff contributed in some way to their own injury. For instance, if a plaintiff is injured in a car accident and brings suit against the car manufacturer for a manufacturing flaw with the vehicle, the manufacturer may try to claim that the plaintiff was driving negligently or illegally. If the defendant is successful in this defense, it will reduce the plaintiff’s likelihood of being awarded damages.
- Assumption of Risk: some activities are determined to be, by their very nature, risky. Thus, the defendant’s argument in this case would be that the plaintiff knowingly participated in a dangerous activity, and therefore took the risk of possible consequences of injury upon themselves.
Do I Need a Lawyer for Assistance with Diminished Quality of Life Issues?
If you decide to pursue a personal injury lawsuit, a local personal injury attorney can review your case to determine whether it is likely to be successful in court, and, if you choose to go forward, they can represent you during a trial, as well as answer your questions and guide you through the process.