Moving Forward Following A Work-Related Injury

Personal Injury Text with StethoscopeWork-related injuries can commonly occur in dangerous occupations such as construction jobs. However, there are many ways an employee can also be injured in non-dangerous occupations. All employers are required to maintain their workplace up to safety standards set forth by their state guidelines and will be liable to you under certain circumstances when your injuries are a direct result of workplace negligence. 

When you are injured, not only will you feel physical and emotional pain, but it may also take a toll on you financially. Medical costs are oftentimes very expensive. Depending on your injury, you might not be able to go to work to pay for those hospital bills. Therefore, it is important that you receive accurate advice and guidance on how to pursue your workers’ compensation claim to make sure that you are able to recover financially for your injuries. 

Why You Should Retain An Attorney 

In New York, you are not required to retain an attorney for a workers’ compensation claim, but it is well-advised to do so. Attorneys experienced in the field of workers’ compensation will be able to explain exactly what you need to do, as well as facilitate the process. Even if you’re not sure that you want to file suit, attorneys usually give free initial consultations without any obligations. They will also not charge you until you receive compensation. Therefore, you have nothing to lose for simply inquiring about a potential claim. 

While you are protected by New York’s workers’ rights, most lawsuits take a lot of time and it can be difficult to handle this process without the expertise of an attorney that has handled these cases before. In the past, people that are inexperienced or unfamiliar with the legal system that have tried to sue without legal representation have received less compensation than they could have received with a lawyer on their side. While it is ultimately your choice whether you want to retain an attorney, your chances of receiving full compensation without much hardship on your part will be increased when you hire an attorney. 

The Process 

In New York, the first thing you should do following an injury is to obtain medical care. As soon as you can afterward, you should notify your employer in writing, within 30 days of the accident or else you may lose your chance of recovering compensation. There will then be forms that will need to be filled out. A New York attorney will know exactly which forms you’ll need, where to send them to, and who to contact when you need personal injury compensation. 

After your claim is filed, you’ll need to follow your doctor’s instructions for recovery, as well as possibly attend court hearings that you are required to go to. You will also need to go back to work once you are capable to mitigate future expenses. Lastly, you are also able to sue for workers’ compensation on behalf of a close family member if he or she is unable to do so. 

Contact Us 

At O’Brien and Ford, we have years of experience in the legal system and continue to stay updated on any New York law developments. We strive to help injured people receive compensation that they deserve while making the process as easy as possible for our clients. An injury can be tolling on your day-to-day life, but the lawsuit doesn’t have to be. Call us today: (716) 330-2901. 

A Personal Injury Diary: What is it and Why Should You Keep One?

Hand writing. Woman writes in notebook with pen enjoys good morning and hot tea. Writing concept. Female writes plan for day in diary. Employee woman drinks coffee and makes arrangment

Maintaining a Personal Injury Journal 

Sometimes, people are injured through no fault of their own.

When this happens, they may have a claim for compensation.

In other words, they may be entitled to collect money for things related to the accident, such as: 

  • Lost wages for missed time at work 
  • Lost overtime wages 
  • Medical bills 
  • Transportation to and from medical treatments 
  • Prescription costs 
  • Physical therapy 
  • Durable medical equipment and 
  • Other costs related to the injury. 

Out of pocket costs can be recovered in a personal injury suit.  However, one can only receive money for proven expenses.  In addition, one can recover for pain and suffering.  When lawyers ask a jury to determine the proper amount for pain and suffering, each case is judged on the individual facts and circumstances.  As such, it is a good idea to maintain a personal injury journal after an injury. 

Understanding What a Personal Injury Journal Is 

A personal injury journal is a place for recording all information related to an injury.  Ideally, this includes, but is not limited to: 

  • each day of work missed 
  • each overtime opportunity missed 
  • all medical visits and treatments, as well as 
  • how one feels each day. 

With all the information related to the injury in one place, a fact-finder can easily review the information. This allows for a reasonable calculation of the consequences of the injury.  A personal injury journal helps a fact finder understand the injured person’s experience.  This puts the fact-finder in a better position to consider what dollar amount might be appropriate for compensation.  In most personal injury cases, the damage cannot be completely undone.  How much, for example, is the pain of a torn muscle or a broken bone worth?  However, when fully informed a fact finder can decide on a fair and reasonable dollar amount. 

What a Personal Injury Journal Looks Like 

The are several areas where a personal injury journal is useful.  One can monitor ongoing medical treatment.   One can also document the body’s response to treatment.   Finally, a personal injury journal can track healing.  What the personal injury journal looks like is up to the individual.  Ideally, a personal injury journal works for the user.  A notebook works just fine.  However, if someone is on crutches, a regular sized notebook may not be easy to transport back and forth to the doctor.  A smaller notebook may be more appropriate.  Some people prefer to keep their personal injury journal in a book designed to be a journal or journal.   Still others prefer to record the doctor visits and other data on their phone.  The key is to find a system that works for the person hurt.  An empty personal injury journal doesn’t help anyone. 

What a Personal Injury Journal Should Contain 

Medical Visits and Lost Work 

A personal injury journal should include all information relating to the injury.  Obviously, a personal injury journal should include all doctor visits.  If the Doctor recommends a certain treatment, such as exercises, or seeing a specialist, the personal injury journal should document these recommendations.  The journal should also document following those recommendations to the letter.  For example, if the doctor recommends doing a certain set of exercises three times a day, each time the person performs the exercises, they should record this in the personal injury journal. 

Each day of work missed should also be documented in the journal.  In fact, the journal should include any time taken off work, even if only 30 minutes, to go to a doctor’s appointment, physical therapy visit, or other visit relating to the injury. 

The journal should include costs of prescriptions.  In addition, one should document any costs for durable medical equipment.  This might include a back brace, crutches, or items to assist in the shower. 

Pain and Suffering 

Make certain the personal injury journal documents pain experienced.  First, figure out a scale, such as a scale from 1 to 10.  In this example, 1 means feeling fine, while 10 means experiencing extreme pain.  5 represents an ability to do daily tasks, but not without significant pain.  An entry may look like this: 

  • Woke up at 6:00 am with leg throbbing.  Pain level is a 7. 
  • Took pain meds before getting out of bed.  Pain level at 7:00 am is a 4. 
  • Could not drive children to school due to pain meds. 
  • leg pain increased to an 8 at 3:30 pm.   
  • Took more pain meds.  Pain reduced to 5.  
  • Iced leg as Doctor ordered for 20 minutes.  Pain reduced to 3. 

A personal injury journal should reflect the pain experienced at least daily during the healing process.  However, often people note their pain levels more than once a day in the beginning. This is because, when taking pain meds, the level of pain can vary quite a bit over the course of a day. 

Quality of life issues often present themselves while one is recovering from an injury.  For example, one might miss out on coaching their daughter’s soccer team due to an injury.  Or a parent may not be able to physically pick up their child.  Memory issues may make it impossible to work the way someone used to work.  All of these events have a place in a personal injury journal. 

Mistakes People Make 

Two frequent mistakes people make when dealing with a personal injury are overstating their pain,and understating their pain.  This is understandable.  However, for the purposes of obtaining compensation for actual pain and suffering, an accurate record of one’s experience is critical. 

When recording pain, take some time to consider the scale in place.  Not every day is going to be “horrible pain,” but some might be.  Remember, healing isn’t always linear.  Even if you feel fine for a few days, continue scoring your pain in your journal until you are certain you have healed.  If your injury is limiting your ability to live a full life, document this in great detail.  These details provide the fact finder with the information they need. 

The other most common mistake is not keeping up on recording ongoing hassles related to the injury.  If a family member or friend enters the information for you, this is perfectly okay, as long as they are writing down your thoughts and experiences.  The important part is recording the information in real time. 

Injured? 

If you are a loved one is hurt, contact O’Brien & Ford.  We are happy to meet with you and your family for free to discuss whether you might have a case.  We maintain regular office hours.  However, we can also meet you at a place convenient for you.  Call us today at 716.330.2901.