If you have suffered a personal injury, you should keep a personal injury journal from the very first day of injury. Personal injury attorneys seek compensation for pain and suffering (among other things). Insurance attorneys argue the suffering was not that bad, or was not their client’s fault. A personal injury journal provides proof in real time the suffering you experience and how well you followed doctor’s orders. A personal injury journal can be the difference between being compensated for your injuries adequately, or not at all.
If you have been injured, your attorney will ask for compensation for your pain and suffering. However, most personal injury law suits take months to years to resolve. As excruciating as your pain may be today, 18 months from now, you may not be able to independently recall what percentage of each day was consumed by crushing headaches, or how long you were unable to hold your own fork.
While there is not a single right way to maintain a personal injury journal, there are some common themes found in well documented journals. First, develop a scale for your pain. It can be a scale of one to ten. Alternatively, it can be a grade of A to F. It doesn’t really matter what your scale is. What matters is that you choose a scale and define the ratings. Is an “A” a really good day or a really bad one? There’s no right answer, but your journal should have the answer documented.
Next, make entries to document your pain. Quantify the pain using your scale. Detail the various pains you experience. “Detail” is the operative word. “Feeling crummy” is not nearly as informative as, “Headache from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. Pain meds took the edge off but did not alleviate the pain entirely. Unable to walk to the bathroom and back to bed. Needed help.” Even though this is just a few more sentences, it will provide the jury with the information they need to quantify your pain. Try entering pain and functioning information each day.
Be realistic about your condition. The most common errors people make in personal injury cases include overstating and understating their condition. It is unlikely you will be in “excruciating pain” every day for the next year. Similarly, understating your pain, or neglecting to document your pain, can result in a lower settlement offer.
Finally, use your personal injury journal to document your compliance with doctor’s orders. It is not uncommon for insurance attorneys to argue you could have recovered faster or more completely if you had followed your doctor’s orders. By maintaining a personal injury journal that includes your doctor’s visits, your physical therapy exercises, and taking your medications as prescribed, you document your compliance.
If you have suffered an injury, you may be entitled to compensation, including compensation for pain and suffering. At Fetterman and Associates, our team of personal injury lawyers have the experience you need to receive maximum compensation for your injuries. We have over 40 years of experience representing injured people. There is no fee unless we win your case. Contact us today at 561-845-2510 to discuss the facts and circumstances of your particular case.
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