Personal Injury Journal (Paperback Bound)
Personal Injury Journal (Paperback Bound)
Originally created for personal injury law firm clients, this Personal Injury Journal was designed by Jamie Davis Whitmer (a litigation paralegal) as a tool to potentially increase the value of Plaintiffs’ pain and suffering damages by logging and utilizing the power of specifics to help better portray the injured client as an individual instead of another set of medical records to feed into Colossus.
The injured person should mark their pain on the pain diagrams on the left side of the book and then complete the prompts on the right side of the page that include the following topics: Doctor/Facility visited today; Treatments given / tests or future treatments ordered; How are you feeling today?; How did your injuries affect your job today?; Did your injuries affect your household duties or family life today?; Did you miss any events/social activities today because of your injuries?; Did you incur any costs today that were accident related?; and other notes/things to do related to the accident.
Besides the pain and suffering aspect, the journals also give the injured person a tool to keep track of all their doctors and note when they finish treatment. You may not realize it as a lawyer, but for the paralegal, sometimes it can be very challenging to get the client to tell you exactly where they treated! Additionally, very few clients can tell you when they have finished treating at a particular facility. This information is of course important for ensuring you have all of their medical bills and records.
The Personal Injury Journal Story. The “Why” Behind Logging Your Injuries. A Litigation Paralegal Explains.
Over the years, Jamie would venture to guess that she has ghost-written thousands of demand letters and discovery responses, which translates to thousands of conversations with injured clients. Besides all being injured, do you know what the clients she helped serve all had in common? The vast majority of them could not explain to her in a specific way how their lives had been negatively impacted by their injuries.
It is inevitable. In writing a demand, or in answering discovery, when she would ask a client: “How have your daily activities suffered or changed because of this accident? Is there anything that you can’t do at all now that you were able to do prior to this accident?” Crickets chirp in the background, while she waited for them to fill the uncomfortable silence.
Finally, the injured client would say something along the lines of: “What do you mean? I was hurt. Everything changed. I didn’t know I was going to have to answer this! Let me get back to you.” Few could tell her anything more than a blanket statement that felt impersonal, or even worse, disingenuous because of the lack of specific details. If that was her impression, what must the insurance adjusters be thinking?
Which brings us to the day Jamie read Daniel Pink’s “To Sell is Human.” Chapter 9 is entitled “Serve,” and discusses the importance of making work personal and purposeful. A study was quoted about how radiologists began reviewing CT scans more meticulously after the patient’s photo was included. The doctors began seeing the patients as human beings, and became less mechanical and detached, and even had a much higher rate of reporting more incidental findings! If this happened with doctors, surely the same might happen with insurance adjusters. Besides concluding that you should send in a photo of your client with their demand letter, what else might we take from this study? Should we be telling the client’s story in a more personal way from the very beginning so that the opposing side is forced to see injured plaintiffs as human beings instead of just another set of medical records they have to mechanically feed into Colossus for review?
Every client has a unique story to tell. Whether it is a college student missing exams and a part-time job; or a mother missing out on caring for her child, everyone’s loss is different. Why not give your clients a journal upon signing that will help them present their circumstances more clearly? Might the adjusters, opposing counsel, or jurors see them more personally and offer higher settlements prior to trial if we are able to cite specific details of their loss? Do specifics convey a more believable and sympathetic client?
Consider the journals as an analog version of a “Day in the Life” video. For instance:
· January 14: Unable to pick-up baby James from bathtub and place him on his changing table. Couldn’t help make dinner tonight or walk with Michael after dinner.
· January 14: Woke up at 3:15 a.m. due to neck pain and couldn’t go back to sleep. Had a hard time focusing at work and didn’t do my best on _____.
· January 15: Unable to lift/transfer wet laundry into the dryer.
· January 20: Missed going to McKenzie’s dance class. There’s nowhere to sit, and the moms usually stand and talk outside the studio. This is as much part of my social life and weekly routine as it is McKenzie’s.
· January 22: I missed the entire first two weeks of class. I’m just going to have to drop/add later. There is no way I can catch up now. I’m too far behind.
· January 27: Left hand unable to grip. Dropped cup of coffee in front of team during meeting. Everyone was nice about it, but I was completely humiliated in front of my new boss.
· January 28: Did not meet ____ to do____.
· January 29: Text from ____, telling me she missed me at ____ this morning.
· February 1: Have to stand up more at work, walk around, and take breaks, and am starting to get some backlash from some of my co-workers, who are losing patience with me. I’m worried about my job.
· February 15: Dr. ____ said I need MRIs of my Lumbar and Cervical Spine, and may want to start considering epidural options. I’m terrified of this.
Each personal injury journal features 180 pages that are lined and numbered for your ease of use.