Chronic pain and personal injury claims
A significant portion of the nation’s population, approximately 1.5 million people according to at least one survey, suffer from chronic pain. Unlike a broken bone or a scar, pain is not something that can be seen or experienced by anyone other than the person suffering from it. For the injured victim of an accident caused by the negligent or careless conduct of another party proving the existence of pain can become a real challenge, but there are ways for a person suffering from chronic pain to be compensated.
What is chronic pain?
Most injuries suffered in a car crash or by slipping and falling on an ice-covered sidewalk eventually heal and allow the injured party to resume most if not all normal activities. Such is not the case with accident victims suffering from chronic pain long after the normal healing process should have ended.
Defined by doctors as pain lingering beyond the three to six months associated with normal healing for most types of injuries, chronic pain complaints persist after noticeable physical injuries are no longer present. Diagnosis of chronic pain is difficult because it relies primarily on the acceptance of a patient’s complaints without laboratory tests or diagnostic imaging to confirm them.
Chronic pain and proving serious impairment
The ability to sue to collect damages for injuries suffered in an accident is governed by the Ontario Insurance Act and its no-fault rules. Most people injured in a car accident would be compensated through their own insurance company without suing the party who caused it to happen. The presence of a permanent, serious physical impairment allows a victim to sue for compensation.
Chronic pain could be a serious and permanent physical condition provided its existence can be proven in court. Representation by a personal injury lawyer experienced in handling chronic pain cases is the first step toward proving your claim for damages in court, but your lawyer needs evidence with which to work.
Methods for proving chronic pain in court
Proving a claim for compensation for chronic pain must rely upon evidence tending to establish the effect the condition has on you. Because tests and imaging reports are not available, the following forms of evidence can help convince a court that what it cannot see actually exists:
- Pain Diary: Beginning from the date of your accident and continuing until you claim for compensation is resolved, keep a record how the pain you feel is affecting your life. Your written diary should be a daily account of the severity of the pain at various times during the day and a description of the limits it places on your activities. Include in the diary a notation about medications you take throughout the course of a day.
- Medical records: Detailed records from all doctors treating you now or in the past for your chronic pain are essential to prove the existence of an impairing physical condition. The records should include details about treatments and medication prescribed by your doctor.
- Testimony of medical experts: Your doctor and other medical experts can be called as witnesses to testify about their findings regarding your pain.
- Testimony of lay witnesses: Friends, co-workers and others who know you could be used as witnesses to support your claim of chronic pain through testimony about their observations.
Proving the existence of an invisible condition, such as chronic pain, is possible if your lawyer devotes the time to assembling the evidence needed to do so.
Ontario personal injury lawyers
The team of personal injury lawyers at Diamond and Diamond have years of experience successfully handling claims for people suffering all types of injuries, including chronic pain. Call their 24/7 injury hotline at 1-800-567-HURT or visit their website to speak to someone now. They offer free consultations and case evaluations and represent accident victims throughout Ontario.