Personal injuries occur from all kinds of accidents. Car crashes, dangerous or defective products, and medical malpractice are just a few ways an individual can be hurt due to another’s negligence. In many cases, these injuries are severe and can lead to chronic pain resulting from the initial incident. Myofascial and spinal injuries from a car accident, for example, can lead to chronic neck or back pain. Botched surgeries can result in chronic pain anywhere in the body, depending on the surgery site and potential nerve damage. Identifying chronic pain and resulting expenses is important because this can affect the amount of damages you request and receive in a personal injury case.
What is “Chronic” Pain and How Do I Prove It?
According to the Institute of Medicine, chronic pain affects over 100 million Americans and is defined as any type of pain that lasts longer than 12 weeks. Chronic pain may arise from an initial acute injury, like a car accident, or from an ongoing event like an illness. In most cases, chronic pain, and pain in general, is subjective from person to person, and, until recently, there were no tests to objectively determine pain levels, which has made chronic pain difficult to prove in lawsuits to determine damages. Many lawyers have challenged plaintiffs’ claims of chronic pain as exaggerated, and even doctors may be doubtful of patients’ complaints when using only a subjective pain scale.
While still in early stages, new neuroscience techniques, including an fMRI (functional MRI) that measures patients’ pain ratings against brain scans, may offer additional proof that chronic pain is indeed real, and does affect patients’ quality of life. Although the fMRI has been used successfully to settle at least one personal injury case, it is both expensive and still in early stages of scientific research, making it a gamble to use in a courtroom. Until techniques like the fMRI are more widely available and accepted, the best course of action is to see a doctor regularly and keep records of your pain level, medical and homeopathic treatments, and expenses from those treatments.
What If I Didn’t File a Claim Right Away After My Accident?
Fortunately, the statute of limitations for personal injury claims based on negligence in Florida is four years. This means that even if you believed early on that your injury was not that bad, if you end up with chronic pain resulting from an injury you sustained due to someone else’s negligence, you may still be able to file a claim for damages against that individual. Remember to seek medical attention as soon as possible if you are in pain, and keep records of all of your medical expenses and doctor visits.
What if I Have More Questions?
If you have chronic pain from an injury caused by someone else’s negligence, getting legal help is vital. John Piccin over 40 years of experience and can help you get the compensation you deserve. Call John Piccin to handle your case personally at 352-581-6174 today.