Keeping a Pain Journal After an Accident

woman writing in pain journal to keep track of her symptoms after an accident

If someone else has injured you, you can pursue compensation for the harm they caused you by filing a personal injury claim against them. The purpose of this compensation is to make you “whole” again financially – that is, to give you the monetary resources you need to rebuild your life as much as possible to its pre-injury condition. Some harm you might have suffered from an injury is fairly easy to quantify: medical expenses, lost wages, and property repairs all have specific numbers attached to them. But some harm is more subjective. How do you put a dollar value on the physical pain, the emotional trauma, and the reduced quality of life you have experienced? These losses are more nebulous than bills and missing paychecks, and yet they are every bit as real, and you deserve to be compensated for them.

One way is to keep a “pain journal,” in which you record your experiences in the days, weeks, and months following an accident. This document can help establish the subjective harm you suffered because of your injuries and can be used to maximize your compensation. On this page, the New York accident lawyers of Finz & Finz, P.C. explain the pain journal as a concept, what you should record in it, and how it can be used in your case. Keep reading to learn more.

What Is a Pain Journal?

A pain journal is simply a record of your physical and emotional state in the wake of an accident. It is a log of the pain, limitations, and inconvenience you experience in the days, weeks, and possibly months after your injury. Your personal injury attorney can use it to establish the more subjective aspects of your injury and recovery, so that insurance adjusters or jury members better understand the impact your injuries have had on you. That way, they can more accurately assign a value to your non-economic losses.

What Should You Put in a Pain Journal?

In one sense, it’s up to you to decide what to put in your pain journal. After all, the point is to establish your unique experience after an injury. However, since the goal is to provide proof of the losses you suffered and should be compensated for, there are certain things you want to be sure to include, such as:

  • The facts of the accident – The sooner you start your pain journal, the better. This way, the observations you record are still fresh in your memory and provide stronger evidence of what happened. Start by recounting the events of the accident as you remember them: what you were doing at the time, how the incident unfolded, and how you felt in the immediate aftermath. Provide as much detail as you can.
  • The facts of your injuries – Medical records should give a technical description of your injuries and provide a dollar value on their cost. However, they provide only a partial picture of the harm you suffered because of them. Include information about how they make you feel, both physically and emotionally. Describe their impact on your life and the things they prevent you from doing. If the expense of treatment is adding stress to your life, write down how that makes you feel. Also, describe the progression of your treatment and any side effects it may cause you.
  • The effects your injuries have on your life – Injuries likely affect you in ways beyond just the practical. They can also leave you unable to take part in your favorite activities or spend time with family and friends. You might have to cancel a vacation or miss out on your children’s milestones. In short, injuries can leave you unable to participate in the everyday things that bring joy and meaning to life. Be sure to note in detail the ways the injuries have affected your life.

Again, the effects of serious injuries are subjective, and everyone responds to them differently. Your pain journal is your opportunity to explain to the people who will evaluate your claim the full extent of the harm you have suffered – especially the things they wouldn’t know unless you told them.

What Compensation Can a Pain Journal Help You Pursue?

The compensation you recover through a personal injury claim can be divided into two general types: economic damages, which compensate you for the dollars-and-cents losses caused by the accident, and non-economic damages, which compensate you for the more subjective losses you suffered. It’s primarily the latter that the pain journal seeks to establish.

Depending on the nature of your injuries and the strength of the evidence you provide in your pain journal, you could receive compensation for the following:

  • Diminished quality of life
  • Emotional trauma
  • Physical pain
  • Worsening pre-existing injuries

The better you are at describing your losses in your pain journal, the more compensation you might be able to secure. Working with an experienced attorney is essential to maximizing your financial recovery.

Calculating Pain and Suffering

One of the most common ways to calculate pain and suffering is the multiplier method, in which the economic losses you suffered (medical bills, for example) are multiplied by a number between 1.5 and 5 to arrive at a final compensation figure. The more substantial your pain and suffering, the higher that number will be, and the more compensation you could be awarded. Your pain journal can help your attorney argue for a higher number and a larger recovery.

Contact Finz & Finz, P.C. for Help with Your Case

Were you hurt in an accident in New York? Was someone else to blame? If so, they could owe you compensation for the full range of the harm you suffered, including subjective losses like pain and suffering. The New York personal injury lawyers of Finz & Finz, P.C. can help you pursue this compensation and advise you on the ways that a pain journal can help build your case.

Contact us today for a free consultation. We look forward to hearing your story and learning how we can help.

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Finz & Finz, P.C. is a New York and Long Island personal injury law firm based out of Mineola, NY. It was founded in 1984 and is highly rated, with many honors and awards of excellence.