Documenting Your Physical Pain
If you succeed in a personal injury lawsuit, you can receive compensation for lost wages and medical expenses. You might also receive money damages for physical pain and suffering. Because juries are sometimes skeptical that you really are in a lot of pain, you should do your best to document your pain before bringing a lawsuit.
But how do you document pain and suffering? With a visible injury, you can take a photograph or video, or you can show the jury your scar. Internal injuries are harder, but not impossible, to establish.
Medical Records Can Establish Pain
When meeting with your doctor, you should inform him or her of where you feel pain so that your doctor can include this information in your medical records. At each subsequent appointment, you should also identify where you are feeling pain. These records will help bolster your claim that you suffered pain because of your accident. If the doctor doesn’t include information about pain in your records, ask that they start.
Also, you can introduce evidence of prescription painkillers you have taken to help you manage pain. At a trial, you can put all of your orange prescription pill bottles in a giant, clear plastic bag, which makes a dramatic exhibit.
Witness Testimony Can Prove Pain
If you go to trial, you can offer first-hand testimony about the pain you have suffered. You can also have other people testify, such as:
- Your doctor
- Family members
These people can’t offer much helpful evidence about what you are feeling. However, they can explain how your behavior has changed as a result of your injury. For example, you might no longer participate in your favorite hobbies or even be able to leave the house because of your pain. Witness testimony can also help establish how your injuries have changed your mood.
Keep a Pain Journal
Several months or even years will pass between the date of your accident and your day in court. During that time, you might forget details about how much pain you have suffered through. A daily pain journal is a good way to preserve this information. Note the following in your daily entries:
- The location of your pain
- The severity
- The type of pain—throbbing, stabbing, pricking, constant, etc.
- How the pain has interrupted your life, such as making it harder to sleep
- The effect of the pain on your mood for the day
Remember not to exaggerate in your journal. For example, most people sleep at least a few hours at night, so don’t claim you didn’t sleep at all unless that is the truth. Write in your pain journal every day so that it is sufficiently detailed to be helpful.
Speak to an Attorney
At Earnhart Law in Florida, we have years of experience helping our clients prove that they are suffering from physical pain and suffering. The sooner you contact us after an accident, the better. We offer a free consultation so potential clients can learn about the services we offer. We also brainstorm with clients about how to effectively document their pain and suffering.