Why Rating Your Pain Matters for Your Iowa Personal Injury Claim

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Posted by Tim Semelroth

In the state of Iowa, you are entitled to compensation for pain and suffering for your personal injury claim. This means that if you were injured because of someone else’s fault, and that injury caused you pain, you can receive monetary compensation.

Insurance companies won’t take you at your word that your injury caused you pain. They want to be able to look at your medical records and see how you reported your pain to your medical provider.

Insurance companies look for inconsistencies in how you report your pain. They will even compare what you tell your doctor to what you tell your physical therapist.  If the insurance company sees conflicting answers regarding your pain, it will use those conflicts to suggest that you were not being truthful. That reflects on your credibility.

Rating Your Pain Accurately After Being Injured

When you go to a doctor, nurse, or therapist after suffering an injury, it’s important to accurately report the level of pain you’re experiencing. Most doctors will ask you how much pain you’re in.  Usually, they’ll say something like “Rate your pain on a scale of 0 to 10.”  Unfortunately, they don’t give you any idea of what kind of pain qualifies for each pain level. You may be in horrible pain and believe you’re a 10 out of 10, when the pain scale a doctor uses says you’re at an 8.

Your doctor may have difficulty treating your pain if you’re not able to explain it accurately, and you may become frustrated because your pain is not being understood.  It is important to both your recovery and your Iowa personal injury claim to give your doctor an accurate description of your pain. That is why the use of a pain scale to properly rate your pain can be helpful.

How You Should Use a Pain Scale When Speaking With an Iowa Doctor

Everyone experiences pain differently, so it can be hard to describe what you’re feeling.  Because of that, we tell our clients to use the standard pain scale. This scale will help you accurately rate your pain throughout your recovery.  We recommend evaluating your pain before you even go to your appointment and deciding which of the following pain levels most accurately describes your condition on that day:

0 = you are pain free

1 = your pain is a very minor annoyance; like how a bruise feels.

2 = your pain is a minor annoyance

3 = Your pain is annoying enough to be distracting, but you can still work; you are still able to play video games, talk on the phone, go to school, or be with friends

4 = your pain can be ignored if you are really involved in work, but it is still distracting; you can still be with friends or talk on the phone, but you know the pain is there

5 = your pain cannot be ignored for more than 30 minutes no matter what you are doing

6 = your pain cannot be ignored for any length of time; you have the pain all the time

7 = your pain makes it very hard to concentrate, but you can still function with some effort; you try to talk on the phone or watch TV, but it’s hard to do

8 = your pain severely limits your activity; you can’t talk on the phone or do anything except think about the pain

9 = your pain stops your activity; you cannot perform activities of daily living; unable to concentrate; you can’t talk on the phone, shower, or watch TV

10 = your pain makes you totally nonfunctional; this pain compares to a broken bone, passing a kidney stone, or hard labor pain.

In addition to reporting the most accurate pain level, it is also important to report to your doctor how your pain level changes.

For example, if you go to the doctor in the morning, when your pain is a 4, then take aspirin or use a heating pad and rate your pain as a 1 to your physical therapist later that day, the insurance company might claim that you didn’t accurately report your pain to your doctor.

However, if you tell your doctor that your pain changes when you take pain medication, take a day off of work or avoid certain activity, your records will be more accurate and show the reason for changes in your pain.  So be as specific and detailed as possible when talking to your doctor about your pain.

Remember, the more truthful you are with your doctor about your pain, the more they can help you with your recovery.

If your injuries result from someone else’s fault, you may need an Iowa personal injury attorney to help you with your case.  Call RSH Legal at 1-319-774-1542 and speak with one of our experienced personal injury lawyers today.

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