After a car accident, most people suffer with pain and yet, as time goes on, struggle to be able to describe what they went through, how it felt, or even how long it lasted with any sort of certainty. Car accident attorney Julie Johnson recommends that you keep a detailed car accident pain journal of not only the facts surrounding your accident, but also your ongoing medical treatment, any tests that are done, and your pain and suffering.
Especially because many car accidents involve back and neck injuries where costs can be extremely high, recovery can take months or years, and the long-term impact indefinite, it is important to be able to refer back to the beginning of your recovery.
The most important thing to remember is accuracy. This record will be useful to both your attorney in evaluating your case and making sure that all potential issues are considered and to your doctor in prescribing treatment and diagnosing problems. So being forthright and accurate is absolutely critical.
What should you record in a pain journal?
There are a few key items that you should absolutely record in a pain journal.
- Accident details: Write down everything you can recall about the accident. This includes location, weather, time of day, road conditions, any memorable issues of lighting or visibility, and speed of the vehicles (but only if known). This is also a great place to record any names and contact information of eyewitnesses for later.
- Diagnoses: If your doctor diagnoses you with an injury, be sure to note the date of the diagnoses. For example, if your doctor diagnoses you with whiplash or a pinched nerve, be sure to write that down.
- Bills and costs incurred: Every time the accident causes you to incur a fee, make sure to write it down and include it in a running total. Whether it means you had to purchase an expensive brace, or had to pay for someone to help with the kids or the cars or grocery shopping because you were unable to do these things yourself, it is imperative that all costs that were the direct result of your injuries and the accident are noted together.
- Lost wages or opportunities: Here, you want to log anything that you would have been able to do but for the accident and injury. For example, if you had spent hundreds of dollars on theater tickets but because of your back or neck (or other) injury cannot attend the show because the pain from sitting upright for so long prevents you from going, that should be included as well as overtime opportunities you may have had to turn down.
- Pain: This is the trickiest one. First, you need to identify the area of pain with as much specificity as possible. Then describe the type of pain itself (cutting, burning, stabbing, dull, sharp, for example) and the level of pain on a 0 to 10 scale with 0 being no pain and 10 being excruciating. It is critical that this be written truthfully and accurately and that your actions are in concert with the pain levels you describe. For example, “pain from pinched nerve: felt like sharp pins and needles today, 7 on pain scale”.
- Any additional symptoms, such as sleep issues, appetite issues, and relationship issues, which have occurred as a result of the accident.
How can I get help?
Contact the Law Office of Julie Johnson to schedule a free consultation. Bring your pain journal and a list of any questions Julie Johnson can answer for you. Call today and get started on your claim: 214-290-8001.
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