In the state of California, the victim of an auto accident or other injuries caused by negligence can be compensated for pain. Determining an appropriate amount of compensation is difficult, as measuring pain is subjective. Keeping a pain journal after an accident can be invaluable in helping to demonstrate the extent and the duration of the pain suffered.
Why You Should Keep a Pain Journal After An accident
California Civil Jury Instructions 2095A addresses physical pain and mental suffering. The jury in an injury claim is instructed to use their judgment because “no fixed standard exists for deciding the amount of these damages.” The jury is advised to use “the evidence and your common sense” when calculating a monetary award for pain, physical impairment, inconvenience, grief, anxiety, and other emotional and physical harm.
While a plaintiff can show physical evidence of injuries with pictures, it is more difficult to provide concrete evidence of pain. When an accident victim is too hurt or depressed after an accident to get out of bed or enjoy the normal activities of daily life, how can this be shown to a jury?
A pain journal is one of the best ways to provide “evidence” of pain. You should include in your pain journal:
- your symptoms
- the duration of the symptoms
- the severity of the pain – you can use a pain scale where your rate pain on a scale of 1 to 10
- the specific ways the pain impacts you. Were you unable to get out of bed, go to work, perform necessary day-to-day tasks, or participate in enjoyable activities
You should make an entry in the journal whenever you experience discomfort or limitations due to your injuries. If possible, back your journal entires up with medical records, photographs and other objective evidence. For example, if your doctor prescribes pain medication to try to manage your pain, keep a record of the prescription and how often you need to take it. When you see your doctor, use the journal to report what you are experiencing so your official medical records will include details about your condition.
Keeping a Pain Journal Can Help Your Long Beach Accident Claim
It is important to remember your pain journal will probably not stay private. You may provide it to the insurance company during settlement negotiations or may submit it as evidence to a jury in an personal injury lawsuit. You should therefore be sure the diary is an accurate and truthful report of your experiences.
Get Help from a Personal Injury Lawyer in Long Beach
Your Injuries are Personal to Me
The Law Office of Michael D. Waks provides representation in personal injury accident cases. I have helped many clients to successfully show the extent of the pain they have experienced. I will fight for your right to full compensation for non-economic damages after an injury occurs. Call the Law Office of Michael D. Waks at 888-394-1174 or use the convenient online contact form to schedule a free consultation.
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