Why Keep A “Pain Journal” After Your Accident?
If you’ve been injured in a Pennsylvania car accident that was caused by another party’s negligence or recklessness and have suffered damages as a result, you are legally entitled to compensation. Under Pennsylvania law, you are entitled to recover for economic, physical, and emotional damages suffered due to another’s negligent acts.
Personal Injury Damages under Pennsylvania Law
Economic damages include all financial harm suffered as a result of the accident. It may help to think of economic damages being equal to the amount of money it would take to put the victim and their family back in the position they would have been in had the accident not occurred. For instance, economic damages can include hospital expenses, all expenses related to the injury, compensation for lost wages or lost/decreased earning potential, funeral expenses, loss of consortium, loss of companionship, and more. Physical and emotional damages (i.e. “pain and suffering”) differ from economic damages, because you cannot place an exact dollar amount on them. They are not compensation for expenses incurred, but rather, compensation for the pain and trauma suffered as a result of the accident. As these measures are subjective, it is critical to provide the jury with as accurate a picture of your suffering as possible.
What is a Pain Journal?
A pain journal is a daily journal, kept following an accident, in which a person can detail in real time the consequences they are experiencing because of an accident. In your pain journal, you can include how you are feeling physically and emotionally. If the injury has affected your ability to perform daily tasks, you can discuss those challenges in this journal. The journal is a place for you to be authentic and process the trauma of the accident, while also providing the jury with a portrait of exactly how this accident has affected you and altered your day-to-day life.
Keeping a pain journal can dramatically increase a person’s pain and suffering damages, because it allows the jury to really step into the victim’s shoes and see and understand the personal and significant effects that this accident has had on their life, through no fault of their own.
Other things to Record in Your Pain Journal
Your pain journal can be as detailed as you want. It can be highly beneficial to include frequent images of injuries and, of course, descriptions of pain level and how it is affecting you. You can assign a pain level at the start and end of each day to track your recovery over time. You can also document each time you have a doctor’s appointment, insurance call, or task related to the accident, to demonstrate to the jury how much this person’s negligent behavior has truly come to monopolize your life, as well as how hard you are working to heal and recover from their actions.
If you suffer from anxiety or PTSD as a result of the accident, you can document your feelings and panic attacks in the journal as well. This will help others to see how the accident has affected you on a much deeper level.
Talk to a Lawyer
If you have been injured in a Pennsylvania accident, it’s important to speak to an experienced Pennsylvania personal injury attorney as soon as possible. Schedule a free initial consultation with the personal injury attorneys at the O’Donnell Law Offices serving clients in Kingston, Wilkes Barre, Hazleton and Pittston at 570-821-5717 or online today. There is no fee or costs until we win your case.