Woman meeting with doctor discussing pain of injuriesInsurance companies are cynical.  They don’t believe anything you say.  I often tell my people that “If it is not in a doctor’s note, then it never happened.”  But even if you tell your doctor you are injured, the insurance adjuster is still going to closely scrutinize your doctors’ records to see how you reported that pain. They are going to look for inconsistencies in your pain reports.  They will compare what you told your doctor to what you tell your physical therapist.  If they see even minor discrepancies regarding your pain reports, they will use those inconsistencies to suggest you are lying or exaggerating your pain complaints.  You must always protect your credibility in cases like yours.

How to Rate Your Pain Accurately and Consistently After Your Injuries

When you see your doctor, physician assistant, or therapist after your injury, it is very important to be consistent with your reports of pain. Usually, the doctor asks you directly what type of pain you have and where you are experiencing it.  They will also ask for you to rate it on a scale from 0-10.  Unfortunately, they don’t give you any guidelines for each level of pain.  You may believe you are in the worse pain ever, but when you use a consistent pain scale, you may only be a 7 or 8.   A pain scale of 9 or 10 should be put in context with experiencing the worst pain EVER, such as giving birth to a child without any medication or having someone sever your arm. 

Insurance companies want you to do 2 things to help their cause:  LIE and EXAGGERATE.   If you do either of these things, you help them in their quest to insinuate you are a liar.  Don’t help them out by exaggerating your pain complaints when your neck is sore and you put on your pain scale that your pain is “an 11”.   It may be killing you at that point in time, but put it in context of excruciating, screaming pain.

You should also put your pain on a relative scale over time.  What I mean by this, don’t just take your pain as a particular speck on a timeline of your life.  Rather, you should evaluate it over the last 48-72 hours as an average.  Of course, if you have a specific episode of severe pain, you should reveal that to your health providers, but otherwise, give them a clearer view of how you are doing overall.

Don’t underestimate your pain either.  Tell it like it truly is.  The point needs to be to stay away from extremes.  Exaggeration of your pain scale is what the insurance lawyer is craving that you do.  Don’t help him out.

John Griffith
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Nashville Personal Injury Trial Attorney
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