You’re in a lot of pain, but the insurance company is arguing that you’re not. They’re basically saying that you’re lying. It’s an argument they sometimes win because proving pain is difficult. We know how frustrating this can be. Your pain is real and it’s preventing you from living your normal life. So how do you prove it?

Pain is different for everyone. We have different pain thresholds and different experiences with pain. Some of us just deal with it better than others, and sometimes it literally feels different to different people. It’s hard to measure objectively. Two workers with similar back injuries might have different experiences, with one returning to work in a couple of months and the other feeling significant pain for years.

The best thing you can do is back up your claims with good medical testimony. If your doctor is reputable and testifies to your level of pain, it can go a long way. In order to do this, be honest and communicate thoroughly with your treating physician. If they don’t hear it from you, they won’t know how bad it is.

Don’t suffer and keep quiet. If you don’t talk to your doctor about the changes in your condition, including your level of pain, they can’t help you. Also talk to your doctor about how you were injured and what you were doing at the time. Explain your job duties to them and what you do on a typical day at work. They also need to support your claim that your injury was caused by your job. They won’t know if you don’t tell them about your work. The insurance company wants to deny your claim, and saying that your injury happened outside of work is one way they might try to do that.

Also, follow your doctor’s orders. If he or she gives you restrictions, follow them. Don’t push yourself to do things that hurt, either at work if you’re still working or at home on your days off. The insurance company might hire a private investigator to follow you and try to catch you doing something they can use to prove that you aren’t in pain. Even if you are being honest, you can get caught in this trap by pushing yourself despite your pain. Be consistent and careful.

It’s unfortunate that you might have to fight hard for benefits just because your pain can’t be proven. But that’s the reality and your case depends on it. Your credibility is a related issue and an important one. If all of this seems overwhelming, talk to an experienced attorney who focuses their practice on helping injured workers. If they have the right experience, they’ll know how to prove your case, even if the insurance company is working hard to disprove it.

By Michael Helfand