Although my injury was minor, the pain in my back has lasted over a year. Will I be appropriately compensated for my true pain and suffering?
Everyone is an individual and although it may seem that attorneys and insurance companies lump accident victims all together as “injuries,” the reality is that when someone is injured in an accident, the whole person is taken into account when it comes to determining compensation for pain and suffering. That being said, you still need to prove your case, so you will be asked for documentation to back up your claim that you have been in pain for so long. You will need to provide proof that you saw a doctor or other medical practitioner. The doctor will be asked to provide medical records and a report showing that you received treatment following the accident, what his diagnosis was, and what his prognosis was for your recovery. You will be questioned regarding what actions you took to care for yourself. For example, if the doctor told you to take Ibuprofen every 4-6 hours for two weeks following the accident, did you comply? Did you apply ice (or heat) as instructed? Did you attend sessions with the physical therapist as prescribed? Did you do exercises at home as indicated? Did you refrain from bending over (or sitting for long periods) or whatever else the doctor told you to do or not do. In other words, you are equally responsible for your own health care as is the physician, and you will be questioned about your activities.
The attorney for the responsible party will likely send you for an independent medical examination to determine if there is anything physically wrong that is still causing you to have pain so long after the accident. You will also need to prove how you have suffered. It is up to you to make your case. How has the pain in your back affected your life? Can you no longer play tennis when you used to play twice a week? Can you no longer drive to the mountains on the weekend, something you have always done? Does someone have to tie your shoes for you now? Your attorney will communicate all of this information so that a fair assessment of your pain and suffering may be made. If you can prove your claim, then yes, you will be appropriately compensated for your true pain and suffering.