Why Should I Keep a Pain Journal For My New York City Personal Injury Lawsuit?

It can be overwhelming to keep up with everything that happens following a serious personal injury. Remembering specifics about your accident or your condition can be challenging, given everything you are likely experiencing. A pain journal can be an invaluable tool to track the impact an injury had on your life from one day to the next.

These journals can provide crucial information during a personal injury case, but they can also be problematic if you are not careful with how you prepare them. An experienced New York City personal injury lawyer can advise you on what to include in your pain journal– and what to exclude.

The value of a pain journal

When you are living with the pain from a serious injury, you might think you will remember every aspect of those challenging days and weeks and months. However, like with many other things, some of these memories are likely to fade or blur. This is problematic, as many trials, happen months or years following an accident. A pain journal can refresh your recollection of the day-to-day struggle that came with your injury.

They can document the extent of your recovery, as well as provide clear evidence that you followed the advice of your doctors. This is important, as the failure to comply with prescribed medical treatment could reduce the amount of compensation you are entitled to receive.

How to keep a pain journal

The first tip to writing a pain journal is to get started as soon as possible. It might feel intimidating to write out your feelings, especially knowing they could one day be evidence at a trial. However, the sooner you begin documenting your injuries, the better position you are in– to recover compensation on your claim. When writing, the first thing to note is the effect the injury and recovery have on your life. No detail is too small. In fact, small details are what will stand out in the eyes of a jury.

Go into detail about the pain you experience. One of the challenges in evaluating a personal injury claim is putting a monetary value on pain and suffering. Show the jury how much pain you were in each day, what you could and couldn’t do—again, these details can go a long way towards covering fair compensation.

As best you can, keep the journal in an orderly format. It may be easier to start each day describing your body from the top down, starting with your head and ending with your feet. Making every entry follow this sort of pattern could better highlight the amount of time your recovery took.

Who has access to your journal during an injury claim?

Never forget that a pain journal might be personal to you, but the odds are good the at-fault party, and their lawyers will demand to review it. If you are careful, a pain journal will help in your pursuit of financial compensation. However, careless wording or inaccurate statements can negatively impact your claim.

Understand that the other side will read every word of the journal looking for anything they can use to discredit you. That is why it is vital that you are completely honest in everything you write. You can expect the other side to twist seemingly minor misstatements as outright lies if it improves their odds at trial.