Physical impairment is one of the most important types of compensatory damages available to a victim who is injured by the carelessness of another. Texas does not have a strict definition of physical impairment for purposes of a personal injury case, but physical impairment is typically understood as the lost enjoyment of life that results from the victim’s inability to participate in sports, hobbies, or other recreational activities. Like all non-economic damages, the amount of compensation an injury victim should expect for physical impairment depends greatly on the actual loss the victim has sustained.
An extremely active or competitive person who loses their ability to participate in an activity (or activities) they enjoy should expect to be compensated substantially more than a person who is only temporarily sidelined from activity. Similarly, a victim who loses their ability to earn income as a competitive athlete should expect to be compensated not only for that economic loss, but for the loss of the enjoyment gained through participation in the activity. It is important to understand that the affected activity does not need to be athletic in nature, but can be any activity the victim enjoyed or participated in prior to the injury.
Obtaining compensation for physical impairment typically requires proof that the injury victim lost some (or all) ability to perform some type of activity. Testimony from the victim and the victim’s close friends and family can help substantiate the physical impairment claim. Photographs and videos of the victim participating in the activity before the injury can also be extremely useful. And, like many other categories of compensatory damages, it can be critical to have an expert opine about the injury victim’s limitations, as well as how the limitations will likely continue to exist in the future.