How Keeping a Journal of Your Experience Can Help a Personal Injury Case
Anyone who has visited a doctor for treatment of an injury or complex health condition will know that the first questions asked relate to where the pain/discomfort is located and the occurrence of any other symptoms. Trying to remember what can easily amount to a lot of information is hard to do, and the simplest way of keeping track of such information is to write everything down on a daily basis. Keeping track of pain, physical/mental limitations and other effects an injury has on daily life is especially important in a personal injury case. In order to win compensation for an injury, a victim must prove that he/she suffered damages. Proving economic losses, such as lost wages, is relatively easy, but establishing how radically the injury altered the victim’s life and led to persistent pain and suffering is much harder to show. Keeping a daily journal about life following an accident can be extremely useful in proving damages, and is well worth the effort. However, it is possible to record too much or the wrong types of information, both of which can damage a case. One can never be sure who will read an injury journal, so it is better to err on the side of caution and avoid costly missteps. Knowing how and what to include in these journals could result in a document that bolsters an injury claim. Thus, an overview of what types of information to record in an injury journal or log, as well as what to leave out, will be discussed below.
Information to Include and the Best Way to Record
Keeping an injury journal is one of the most effective ways to communicate information to one’s personal injury attorney about the circumstances of the incident that led to the injury and its effect on the victim’s daily life. Consequently, as soon after the accident as possible, a journal should be started that outlines everything the victim remembers about the incident, including what happened just before, during and after. Following that entry, daily logs should be kept about the duration and severity of pain, medical visits and the impact on daily life. For example, one approach could entail going through daily activities and discussing how they must be modified in light of the injury. Another alternative is to note each part of the body, from head to foot, and note any problems or pain experienced. Further, recording the emotional and mental impact of an injury is just as important as describing physical symptoms, and should be given equal space in journal entries. As symptoms diminish, so can the regularity of the entries, but they should be made at least once a week until all symptoms/limitations are gone. Importantly, injury journals should be handwritten in a notebook or calendar to limit the possibility of someone gaining unintended and unauthorized access to it.
Information to Exclude and Recording Methods to Avoid
Recording information about the accident and its aftermath is common sense, but refraining from including unnecessary, and potentially damaging, statements in a journal is crucial to creating an effective and useful document. Information related to the following should be avoided:
- admissions of fault or responsibility;
- failure to follow a doctor’s treatment plan;
- matters unrelated to the case;
- private/confidential conversations with a spouse;
- embarrassing information; and
- legal advice from one’s attorney.
Further, injury journals should not be kept online because the defendant could discover it, and use the contents against the victim at trial. In fact, social media activity should be extremely curtailed, if not entirely eliminated, while a personal injury case is pending to eliminate the defendant’s ability to use it as evidence.
Talk to a Personal Injury Attorney
If you were injured in an accident, the bills are likely stacking up as you try to recover and resume normal life. Do not take on the burden for paying for this recovery alone. Contact a personal injury attorney about filing a lawsuit to receive compensation for your injuries. The Miami law firm of Pita Weber & Del Prado understands how much a serious injury can impact your life, and will fight to hold the responsible party accountable. Contact us for a free consultation.