The Effect of the Injuries on the Person’s Ability to Function as a Whole Person?
Remember we previously discussed Indiana Model Jury Instruction 703 as our “Road Map” when trying to figure out what a Personal Injury Case is worth. We split the first part of Instruction 703 (subsection 1) into two parts because they are so important to trial lawyers and are often overlooked by the insurance companies because it is hard for the insurance companies and the computers, they use to compute these Human Losses. You will read that term, “Human Losses” (not coined by us) throughout this article because that is what we are talking about REAL HUMAN LOSSES.
We call them HUMAN LOSSES because they are felt by our clients and their families and can literally shake the foundation of a family when they are felt.
You see the Insurance Companies love to use little computer programs like Colossus and other companies to tell them what a case is worth. However, they often forget that when a case is tried, it is tried before a jury of PEOPLE (HUMANS) not COMPUTERS. For HUMANS it is a lot easier to understand and COMPUTE those losses particularly when using their own experiences and common sense. For COMPUTERS it’s not so easy so next time an adjuster tries to tell you that your HUMAN LOSSES are not worth that much remind them where they are getting their information, from a COMPUTER.
What does “The Effect of the Injuries on the Person’s Ability to Function as a Whole Person” mean?
In short it means how the injuries have changed the injured person’s life?
WHAT ARE THE HUMAN LOSSES?
Simply put, it’s all the things that make up a “normal day” for you, things that you might not even realize you are doing or take for granted. Some of our clients have been injured so badly they cannot bathe themselves or even clean themselves after using the bathroom. Other clients Human Losses might be a little less impactful like not being able to carry a laundry basket up the stairs or not mowing the lawn like you used every week. Regardless of their impact, they ALL still have VALUE and must be considered when evaluating what the case is worth.
LOSS OF ENJOYMENT OF LIFE
The legal term of art “Loss of Enjoyment of Life” is another manner in which HUMAN LOSSES and their Effect on an injured person’s life. For example, some people love to play Golf and many of our clients who are avid golfers may lose the ability to play altogether or miss a couple of years of their favorite hobby. We know that Golf may not be that important to all people but certainly to some (and particularly our client) it was very important at least enough to mention it.
With Summer in full swing, some of our clients love the Lake Life and enjoy being out on a boat enjoying time with their family and water activities. Some clients can’t get back on skis because of their injuries while others cannot even ride on the boat without being in pain. How could that affect their family? Their children, who may want to take a boat ride but can’t because Dad can’t drive the boat without Back Pain?
Some of our clients who have suffered personal injury enjoy playing sports with their children like basketball or baseball but due to their injuries they can no longer do so. Other clients are grandparents who can’t hold their grandchild for longer than 5 minutes without having to put them down because of the pain. Some clients miss yearly family vacations because of their fear of being in a car after a terrible car crash.
So, what do I look for when considering how the injuries have impacted someone’s life after a car accident?
Look at EVERYTHING! Literally every aspect of their life that did or was impacted by the injuries in the crash. Then assign it a value which can be hard but we have a lot of faith in our civil jury system and a juror’s ability to decide a fair amount to compensate someone for their loss.
The worst thing that can be done is nothing which means not considering it as part of your case. Remember, if you or a loved one has been hurt in an accident and those injuries affected their lives then that is compensable! You are entitled to recover for that, regardless of the “size” of the impact on your life, you can recover.
Things can be more important to some people and less important to others but the jury must look at how it affected that Injured Person’s Life and what amount will fairly compensate them.