Is it absolutely necessary to journal my pain?
Relying on memory over long periods of time to document pain and suffering is not a best practice. A consistent daily diary is a useful tool that can help you keep track of what you felt and when. However, there is a problem with a diary. The diary may not always be kept confidential. If you use it as evidence, you may be ordered to grant ICBC’s lawyer access to the diary. The key point here is that ICBC’s lawyer will try to find contradictions between your testimony under oath and what you have documented in your diary. A contradiction will be costly to you so make sure you keep your diary simple and to the point.
Do not comingle your personal journal with your pain diary. Keep a separate diary that only keeps track of your pain, suffering, and injuries. Make your entries short and to the point. Things that you may want to keep track of specifically are:
- The type of pain you have;
- When the pain typically presents itself;
- What treatments you have been doing;
- The time you have spent doing rehabilitation;
- The activities you have attempted;
- The results of your attempted activities;
You will want to use simple, consistent language throughout your diary. For example, when writing in your diary about pain use the following language:
- Mild pain,
- Mild to moderate pain,
- Moderate pain,
- Moderate to severe pain,
- Severe pain,
- Very severe pain
You will also want to keep track of your sleeping patterns. It is important to document how many hours a day you are sleeping, how long it takes to fall asleep, whether you have interrupted sleep, and how you feel when you wake up. Also keep track of whether you need to sleep during the day, if you just cannot stay awake.
ICBC lawyers often try to argue that you do not get enough exercise. Make sure you keep track of your daily activities. For example, “Went out for a MINUTES walk at TIME”
It may seem like a lot to keep track of but once you get into the habit of writing in your diary you will find it becomes a very simple part of your daily routine. Keeping track of the number of hours you work each day and how fatigued you are is important if you are slowly returning to work.
Remember to start every journal entry with the date and time.
There are some ways that can protect the confidentiality of your diary, however, there are no guarantees. Ask how this may be done during a meeting with a lawyer.