After an accident, keeping a personal injury journal is one of the most important things you can do to help protect your claim. Aside from accident reports and medical records, a personal injury journal can serve as evidence to help strengthen your claim for compensation.
When a claim is evaluated, the insurance company will look at the facts and base its decisions on those facts. Having a detailed record of the pain and discomfort you are experiencing after an accident can help prove the severity of your injury to an insurer.
A personal injury lawyer can explain all the information your journal should and should not contain. Schedule a free legal consultation right now.
Understanding What a Personal Injury Journal Is
A personal injury journal is a record, kept by you, of your daily experiences related to your injury. It is a method to communicate to your attorney the circumstances surrounding the accident and how the injury you suffered has impacted your life.
A personal injury journal is a very helpful tool and will assist your personal injury attorney in proving the damages that resulted from your accident. It is important that your journal include the right types of information, and not information that could be used against you.
Handwrite these records in a notebook or on a calendar. Do not record it online, as your information may be accessed, taken out of context, and negatively affect the outcome of your case.
What a Personal Injury Journal Should Contain
A personal injury journal should cover the details of your accident, your treatment, and your daily experiences. In the beginning, daily entries should be recorded. As your recovery progresses, weekly entries may be sufficient until you are free of all symptoms and limitations.
Details of Your Accident
As soon as possible after the accident, write down any details you remember. In your journal entries, include what occurred right before the accident, what you remember as the accident happened and what took place immediately after the accident. Details to write down include:
- Time of day
- Weather conditions
- Any construction nearby
- Things you remember others doing at the scene
Medication and Treatment Information
Include all treatment you undergo and medication you are prescribed for your injury. Note the days you attended treatment appointments, costs you paid, and mileage to and from appointments. You may see several different medical professionals for your treatment – record each visit, not just appointments with the primary doctor treating your injury.
Perceived Level of Pain
Discuss what pain you experience. Note the part of the body that is affected, your pain level and how long the pain lasted. Your entries should be honest, but not exaggerated. Record:
- When you woke up and your pain level
- When you took medication and your pain level after taking it
- Any tasks your pain or medication prevented you from doing
In the beginning, daily entries are necessary to record the pain you experience. You may record your pain levels multiple times a day, as the level changes due to taking prescribed pain medication. As your treatment progresses, you may only need to write in your journal once a week if pain and limitations ease.
How Your Injury Has Affected Your Life
You should record all the ways that your injury has affected your life. These may include:
- Not being able to work
- Lost wages due to not working
- Activities you can no longer do
- Household or family tasks you can no longer perform
- Emotional effects of your injury
Information Not to Document
It is important that you stick to the facts of the case and not record certain things in your journal that can be damaging to your claim. Do not record entries that include the following information:
- Admissions of responsibility or fault for the accident
- Any information that is not related to your claim
- Statements that show you did not follow a physician’s treatment plan
- Embarrassing information
- Private conversations with your spouse, which are confidential
- Legal advice from your attorney
Why Your Personal Injury Journal May Become Public Knowledge
If your case goes to court, your personal injury journal will likely be used as evidence. This means the judge and any other parties involved will be able to read what your journal contains. If you started your journal after hiring an attorney, it may be considered privileged information.
As long as your journal only includes truthful information that can be supported by other forms of evidence, you have nothing to worry about. Even so, keep your journal professional – do not make derogatory or angry statements or accusations.
Contact Goldberg Finnegan For More Information
If you were injured in an accident, it is important to begin documenting information about the incident. A personal injury journal can be a valuable piece of evidence for your claim. If you have questions about your case, including what information to include in your journal, we can help. The Silver Spring personal injury attorneys of Goldberg Finnegan are ready to pursue the maximum compensation you deserve. Request a free, no obligation consultation today. There are no upfront fees and payment is only due if we recover compensation for you.