Loss of Enjoyment of Life
Generally not subject to expert testimony, general damages, including the loss of enjoyment of life, pain and suffering, emotional distress, embarrassment and humiliation, and psycho-social maladies, including depression, are significant elements of damage in spinal cord injury cases.
The plaintiff, depending on degree of physical impairment, is trapped in a body that does not work. The plaintiff cannot perform simple tasks. Scratching a nose is a luxury lost.
While sensation to certain parts of the body may have been lost, pain may nonetheless be experienced elsewhere. For example, bed sores which have developed in an area with sensory perception will be as painful to the spinal cord injury victim as anyone else.
Unless rehabilitation is commenced immediately, and even when it is, a spinal cord injury victim is prone to extreme depression, frustration, and at times, a lack of a will to live. While expert testimony is generally not admissible regarding the computation of a dollar amount for a general damage award, expert testimony should be used to validate depression and the emotional well being (or lack thereof), of the victim. Psychiatrists, psychologists, and neuropsychologists should be utilized to discuss the diagnosis of depression, the impact of medication and the prognosis of the plaintiff’s emotional condition.
In addition to experts, lay witnesses, including family members, close friends, relatives, etc. should be used to establish the plaintiff’s damages.
Physical disabilities in a spinal cord injury case can be disheartening. The true invisible injury, however, the general damages, are no less disheartening to endure.
Extensive time must be spent by counsel in order the breadth of the general damages is understood and communicated to the jury.
If you or someone you know has suffered a spinal cord injury or serious injury to the spine, you need the assistance of the Scarlett Law Group. Call (415) 688-2176 today to speak with a California Personal Injury Attorney.