As the victim of a personal injury, whether through a car collision, a slip and fall or any other “tort”, you are just another claim number to an insurance company adjuster who handles your claim. The challenge is to convince the insurance company handling your claim that you are, in fact, a person – a unique individual whose life has been altered with pain and physical disabilities as a result of this incident.
Personal injury attorneys absolutely need your help in this quest. You live your life and we help document it so an insurance adjuster knows you are not only Claim Number 12-3948, you are also the person who had to throw away all your shoes with laces and buy nothing but loafers since you no longer have much range of motion in your low back after surgery to tie your shoes. That real life example not only demonstrates disability, but also damages since shoes are costly.
Another client told me that she “drains” the hot water tank in her house daily since the only way she can get some mobility in her neck is to take long hot showers.
Sometimes, it is the small inconveniences in life that really take hold of an adjuster’s memory. Imagine not being able to tie your shoes or not being able to leave your house until you’ve had a 20 minute long hot shower.
Now, obviously the big picture is quite important in making a strong personal injury claim. Experiencing lost wages for a time as an employee, losing a business because it’s too physical to maintain or having to quit a job because it is too taxing on your neck or back are all very important financial aspects on your case.
But don’t overlook the things that drive you crazy multiple times a day. Like every time you put your car in reverse and must turn your head to back up and **ouch** your neck goes into spasm. Like the time after sitting through that boring meeting at work you waited for everyone else to leave the conference room because you had to stand up slowly and wince in pain after sitting for that long. Like walking your 80 pound dog who is tugging at the leash which hurts your back in all the wrong places.
Fortunately, almost every personal injury client tends to experience some relief with time. You feel particularly crummy for the first few weeks and months and then, over time and with the help of your doctors and other health care professionals, there is light at the end of the tunnel and the hard edge of pain subsides. That’s when memories begin to become fuzzy. Who, after all, wants to remember how rotten they felt in the past?
It is greatly helpful to us personal injury attorneys when clients keep a journal of their pain and disabilities. We don’t need 500 pages. Maybe each Friday night, jot down some notes about how the week went: “This week I had a hard time staying asleep. Every time I rolled over my neck pain flared and I woke up. I started most days this week tired which made every other pain worse. Also, I have to pick up Alex to put him in the car seat, and 35 pounds of Alex just sends shooting pains down my legs.”
The more we know about you as a personal injury patient, the better a picture we can paint about you to an insurance company. In this case, familiarity doesn’t breed contempt, it breeds compassion.