After most all wrecks, assuming there aren’t obvious or catastrophic injuries, most times, both parties get out of their cars, look at the damage and ask the other person if they are OK. And, most people answer “Yes, I’m fine’ without even thinking about it. It is akin to someone you see on the street asking how you are doing. Out of habit you answer, “I’m doing fine” or “I’m doing well, how are you.” You may have a whole host of issues going on, but don’t let on.
Most everyone who has been in a wreck is shaken up pretty good. They are scared and have a lot of adrenaline running through them. Even if they are in pain, most are not feeling it at that time. Oftentimes, it is not until that night or the next day that your neck or back does not start to hurt.
If you have been in a car wreck, it has been our experience that you should be checked out by a doctor immediately. Rather than diagnose yourself, or let the person who hit you diagnose whether or not you are injured, you should let a doctor do that. You should get yourself to a doctor immediately.
After seeing a doctor, you should follow his or her recommendations to the letter. That means, going to tall follow up visits, taking the recommended medications, doing any and all prescribed physical therapy.
Additionally, you should be as honest with your doctor as you can. A lot of my male clients will tell me about the pain they were in after the wreck only after much prying. But when I read the medical records, there is little mention of pain. They later tell me that they didn’t want to appear to be weak or whiners or that they’d learned to deal with pain and didn’t want to appear to be complaining too much. This only hurts their ability later on to be compensated for the pain and suffering they endured as a result of the wreck.
Some of our clients have found it helpful to keep a journal of their treatment and injuries. Understand, however, if you do this that it may be discoverable by the defendant. Therefore, we only recommend doing it if you will do it consistently, that is every day or virtually every day over the course of your treatment, and only write down things you wouldn’t later mind being read to a jury. The best way to assure that you do this is to only write down the truthful facts about what you are experiencing, not your opinions, of your experiences, your treatment, doctors or dealings with the person who hit you or the insurance adjuster. This should include your treatment, your pain, and your limitations as a result of the pain.
You are entitled to be compensated for your pain and suffering. As time goes by most people forget the actual pain they went through in recovering. For example, they forget that it took them several minutes to get up and out of bed for the first several weeks after the wreck, that they could no longer do chores or help around the house, the embarrassment or helpless feeling of having someone to have to help them get dressed or go to the bathroom or the fact that they were having to take a pain pill every few hours to deal with the back spasms or other pain. These are only a few examples, but most all of our clients have experienced something like this and more often than not forget about them.
Your ability to recover for your pain and suffering is only as good as your ability to remember what you went through and then your ability to relate it to your lawyer or to the insurance adjuster or judge or jury. If you can only say I was in pain and cannot give specific examples, no one is going to be able to relate to and understand what you went through and thus will have no real measuring stick by which to compensate you.