Over the years many of my clients have asked me what they can do to assist me in the prosecution of their case. While this is potentially a double-edged sword on account of us having to hand over this material, it is a very good thing for my clients to do if they simply remain factual in what they did and how they felt on a particular date.
If you are someone who has recently been injured in an accident, it is in your best interest to document the incident, your injuries how they progress, and speak with an experienced New York City personal injury attorney who is ready to fight for the compensation you deserve and need to heal. Here are some suggestions on a Pain, Symptom, and Treatment Diary:
Q: What is a symptom diary?
A: A symptom diary is a means of regularly recording the symptoms you are experiencing as a result of your injuries. It can take many forms, including a traditional, handwritten diary; a computer log; a spreadsheet; or even a calendar with detailed notes.
Q: Why should I keep a symptom diary?
A: Your medical bills and wage records will help to establish your economic losses.
A symptom diary will help to establish your pain and suffering, your loss of enjoyment of life, and other non-economic losses that are harder to quantify. The more specific you can be in describing these damages, so that you can look back at these notes to refresh your recollection when the time comes for you to testify or give a statement – whether to an insurance adjuster; to opposing counsel; or to a jury at trial – the greater your chances of obtaining fair compensation from them. But once again, I would urge my client not to embellish or add anything to this diary that is not related to his or her treatment as this diary will be handed over to the lawyers representing the other side. It may take many months to resolve your personal injury claim with the insurance company, and even longer if a lawsuit must be filed. Even if you have an excellent memory, having a written record of the impact of your symptoms on your day-to-day activities will strengthen your case.
Q: What should I include in my symptom diary?
A: There are no magic words or phrases that you are required to use. In fact, it’s best if you use your own words. There are, however, a couple of ground rules you must follow:
(1) Be honest. Don’t exaggerate your symptoms. If you have a minor back issue, don’t say your life is ruined. At the same time, we want you to focus on what is wrong, what hurts, and what you are having trouble with.
(2) Be specific. A detailed symptom diary is a persuasive symptom diary. For example, do not write simply, “I had a bad headache.” Instead, describe the nature of your headache and how it impacted your day. For example:
- What was your pain level, on a scale of 1-10? Where was the pain located? Did it radiate down your neck and shoulders? Did it subside or increase as the day progressed?
- How did you feel when you first woke up in the morning? Did your headache make it difficult for you to get out of bed, attend to your personal hygiene, and get dressed on your own?
- How did you spend your day? Were you active or did your symptoms keep you in bed?
- Were you able to go to work? Clean the house? Exercise? Do shopping? Care for your children? Cook dinner for your family?
- Did you fall asleep easily at night? Did you sleep through the night?
In many cases, creating such a diary can help bolster your chances of winning a future claim, as we can clearly illustrate the extent of your injuries, how long it takes them to heal, and the cost of any medical treatment you receive regarding those injuries. If you have any additional questions or you are ready to get started, please do not hesitate to speak with our experienced New York City personal injury attorney today. Our firm is here to help you through every step of the legal process ahead.
CONTACT OUR EXPERIENCED NEW YORK CITY FIRM
Our entire legal team is dedicated to providing the advice you need and the personalized attention you deserve. If you have been injured due to another party’s negligence, call 212-421-0300 or fill out our contact form to schedule a free consultation with a New York City personal injury lawyer. You may be entitled to financial compensation, which can help you on your road to recovery.