What You Need to Know About Documenting Your Pain and Suffering
Posted on Tuesday, March 1st, 2022
When you seek a settlement in an insurance claim, the process can be straightforward. It might not be a challenge to prove some aspects of your case, such as fault and total incurred medical expenses. However, other parts of a claim can be more complicated.
For example, placing a monetary value on pain and suffering is confusing. It’s an intangible loss that results from most accident cases. If you experience physical or emotional pain and suffering, you don’t have an invoice or billing statement to show the extent. Proving the amount of compensation you’re entitled to for this loss isn’t as simple as showing the cost of medical care.
You must take several critical steps to document your pain and suffering to ensure you receive adequate compensation in your case. The settlement from the insurance company or jury verdict in a lawsuit should be fair and include compensation for the pain and suffering you endured due to the injury someone else caused.
Documenting Pain and Suffering After an Accident
Various methods of documentation are available for gathering evidence of pain and suffering. The most common are below.
Videos and Photos
Visual evidence can be valuable in an injury claim. Sometimes, injuries aren’t apparent in the immediate aftermath of an accident. It could take a few days or even weeks before your injury is noticeable. Additionally, what might start as a simple bruise could turn into a severe infection, requiring additional medical attention to heal.
You should take pictures of visible injuries after the accident. A series of photos showing the recovery process could also benefit your case. The insurance company can review the evidence to see whether you healed entirely or ended up with scarring or disfigurement.
You can also use footage from before the accident. For example, if you have a video showing yourself participating in sports, provide a copy during your case. The footage could show your level of physical capabilities prior to the injury compared to your impairments now.
Take Notes About Your Pain and Suffering
You can keep a journal of every symptom and issue you experience while treating your injury. Include details, such as:
- Burning, throbbing, aching, and other types of pain
- Location of the symptoms
- Duration of the symptoms
- Whether the injury reduces mobility, sensation, range of motion, or another physical ability
You can use your medical records to prove the physical burden of the injury on your daily life. For example, if you broke your right leg in a car crash, you can present documents from your doctor indicating the extent of the injury. Without total functional capacity, you can’t drive, walk without a medical device, or perform other routine tasks independently.
Testimony from a Psychologist or Counselor
Some people recover entirely from their physical injuries, but the psychological injury lasts long after wounds heal. You might need to seek therapy to cope with the traumatic experience.
Anxiety is common when someone sustains an injury due to someone else’s misconduct. Depression can also be an issue if the injury prevents the victim from returning to work or caring for themselves.
If the incident was particularly terrifying and impacted your life significantly, you could have post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). PTSD requires ongoing treatment to cope with what happened and deal with the event, so it no longer controls you. That could take time and require consistent therapy sessions, medications, and other forms of treatment.
Your therapist can provide you with copies of notes from sessions indicating your diagnosis and progress as you learn to manage your symptoms and heal. They could also write a letter regarding the impact of your psychological injury on your life and routine.
Statements from Friends and Family
Your family and friends know you best. They spend time with you and can see the struggles you face after the accident. They could speak about your level of pain and suffering, whether emotional or physical, due to your injury.
You could ask your roommate to write a letter regarding your home life. If the injury left you bedridden while you heal, your roommate could discuss your mood and its impact on your relationship. A co-worker might watch you struggle every day at work because of a physical impairment or disability. They could write a statement about how your injury affects your professional abilities.
Documenting your pain and suffering is just as vital as proving your injury and your accident-related incurred expenses. You should receive the maximum compensation available to cover your total losses. The negligent party responsible for your injury should compensate you for everything, even noneconomic losses, such as pain and suffering.
If you sustained an injury in an accident that wasn’t your fault, call the St. Louis personal injury attorneys of OnderLaw, LLC at (314) 963-9000 today for your free consultation with a trusted and dedicated personal injury lawyer. We have represented accident victims since 2002 and will fight for the justice you deserve.