The last thing most people want to do after an accident is to dwell on their pain and suffering. Thinking about it is difficult. Writing about it can seem almost impossible. Yet documenting your pain and daily struggles in a journal can have several benefits.
What Is a Pain Journal?
Think back to your youth. Did you ever keep a diary or journal? A book where you could share your thoughts and feelings? A pain journal is similar. It is a document that you keep after an accident that outlines how the accident impacts you physically and emotionally. You may have thoughts about the recovery process. Writing them down can be a cathartic experience. It is a healthy outlet where you can be honest about your situation.
Information to Include in a Pain Journal
When you sit down to write in your journal, you may not know where to begin. It can be hard to articulate how the pain and trauma of an accident are influencing your daily life. Don’t be afraid to start small. You don’t have to write a novel or be intimidated by grammatical errors or spelling mistakes. Start with a few words about how your day is progressing. Once you have a few words down, you may feel as if the words begin flowing more naturally.
Need more help getting started? Include this information in your pain journal:
- Pain Rating: One of the easiest things you can record in your pain journal is your level of pain. Most people use a scale from one to ten, with one being mild pain and ten being the most extreme pain you’ve ever felt. Remember, pain is subjective. You may want to include a few words that describe your pain. Compare it to something else you have experienced or use descriptive words like ache, dull, sharp, or excruciating.
- How the pain impacts your day: In addition to talking about your pain, list out how the pain impacts your daily life. Were you unable to do the laundry today because you felt so poorly? Are you out of work for the time being because of your injuries? Write out ways the pain is blocking you from completing tasks or enjoying your day.
- What medication you are taking: You may also want to include information about the medications you are taking to control your pain. Doing this can be an excellent way to stay on top of remembering to take your medication and keeping track of which prescriptions are improving your symptoms.
- How you feel: Does the pain make you feel depressed, anxious, or give you nightmares? Pain can negatively impact your mood and emotional state. Express how the pain and your injuries are making you feel. Include information about any changes to your eating or sleeping patterns.
Additionally, you may want to keep records of your medical bills with your pain journal and record the mileage to and from your doctor’s appointments. You can also include details about the accident itself. Just remember to keep everything factual and accurate.
Writing all this information down can feel like an emotional release. It can help you heal mentally from the trauma of an accident. It can also be used to document your recovery and give you some perspective on what is working, what makes you feel better, and what you can change to improve your recovery rate. You can also share some of this information with your physician to help them understand your situation and better treat your injuries.
Can a Pain Journal Be Beneficial in an Accident Claim?
While your pain journal is a useful tool for your well-being, it can also be used to bolster an accident claim seeking compensation for your injuries. The insight into your pain, injuries, and how your condition impacts your life may help your attorney better estimate non-economic damages. Non-economic damages are compensation for things like emotional distress and pain and suffering. These are losses that cannot be calculated by totaling things like medical bills and property damage receipts.
However, keep in mind that if your pain journal is a valid source of information that may benefit your claim, it can also be used against you. When writing in a pain journal after an accident, keep these things in mind:
- Stay factual. Do not embellish or overstate your situation.
- Always stick to your doctor’s medical advice. Don’t use your journal as a means of contradicting your medical treatment.
- Do not rip out pages or delete information. If your journal is used as part of a claim or lawsuit, that may be considered destruction of evidence.
Contact a Skilled Personal Injury Attorney
When a negligent individual causes an accident that injures you, they can be held responsible for their actions. Take the first step toward holding them accountable. Contact an experienced personal injury lawyer today.