When negotiating a settlement after an auto accident, proving how much damage was done to your vehicle by the other party at fault and the cost of repairs is simple. Adding doctor and hospital bills together to determine how much you will be reimbursed for medical costs is also relatively easy. However, proving why you deserve a large amount of compensation for pain and suffering is not so simple. While your auto accident lawyer can help you, you also need to help your attorney by completing the following tasks that can help him or her fight for your pain and suffering claim after an auto accident.
1. Report Your Pain and Emotional Trauma to Your Physicians During Treatment
If you are someone who doesn't like to complain or like to keep your feelings bottled up, then you will need to be more open after an auto accident when you are in pain and want to receive compensation for it. Every physician you visit will keep medical notes about your visit (this is standard for any physician appointment), and in these notes, they document whether you report pain and how intense that pain is. If you don't have pain officially documented by a physician, then your pain and suffering claim may not even be legally recognized and you will receive no compensation for it at all.
Also, while you don't have to visit a psychiatric professional to include emotional suffering in your claim, it is a good idea to visit one anyway to help you prove you were greatly affected mentally by the accident. If your case eventually lands in court, then your attorney can then ask your mental health counselor to testify you received a diagnosis for PTSD, depression or any other emotional disorder caused by the accident.
2. Keep a Detailed Medical Journal After the Accident
Keeping a detailed journal of your doctor visits, medications taken, episodes of pain, and mental state after your accident is important for receiving as much money as you can when claiming pain and suffering after an auto accident. You may visit a variety of physicians for diagnosis and treatment of your post-accident injuries, and it can be all-too-easy to forget this information when your time in court comes when you are still in mental shock after an accident and may be on pain medications that can make you forgetful.
While concrete evidence of injuries, like x-rays and diagnosis, is a larger part of proving the physical injuries you suffered due to the accident, your journal will provide information on just how much pain, mental anguish, and disruption of your daily life the accident caused.
You can start immediately recording this information by hand in a simple notebook with a page dedicated to each day. Start every morning by opening a new page of your notebook and recording how you feel when you awaken, including how intense your pain is and where you are experiencing it. Use the pain number scale and assign a number to your pain. Also, if you are experiencing depression, PTSD, or any other mental health issues (most people also experience emotional trauma after a vehicle accident), record your thoughts and feelings.
Keep the journal with you all day every day and record pain experienced throughout the day, medications taken and your mental status every few hours. Also, include just how your physical or mental pain is interfering with your life, such as causing you to miss important events, like a child's graduation, an interview you had for a new job, or even the long morning walk you always take with your dogs.
This journal can then be a valuable piece of evidence your attorney can submit to the court as a record of just what you went through each and every day when recovering from your accident injuries, including physical pain, mental pain, and missed important life moments you will never get back.
If you suffer physically and mentally after an auto accident, then you deserve to be compensated. Even when you hire an attorney to help you fight for this compensation, only you can complete these two tasks that will help your case immensely.