When you have been hurt in an accident, keeping a journal to document your injuries and the other ways your life changed helps your lawyer and your claim. Often, in the months and years it takes to resolve your claim, your memories of the difficult things you go through will fade. A journal will help that. Here are a couple of suggestions that can help ensure you receive fair compensation for your physical injuries, as well as for your pain and suffering:
Describe how your injuries affect you
Doctors are good at diagnosing and treating your injuries, but only you can describe in detail how your injuries affect you. Your journal should describe how you feel from when you wake up in the morning, throughout the day, right up until you go to bed that night. You should truthfully document every day, both good and bad, in your journal. Your journal entries should be honest and contain enough detail so that another person who reads it can understand the severity of what you went through. Prior to sharing your journal with anyone else, your lawyer should discuss with you their plan to use your journal. Nonetheless, a journal can often be a powerful tool to show how someone else’s mistake has impacted your daily life. Describing how your suffering, pain, and injuries affect your job performance, emotional well-being, and your relationship with your family and friends is very pertinent and important to your claim.
A journal entry that just says, “Today I felt crummy,” is not as helpful as one that says, “This morning, I woke up with a burning pain in my lower back, shooting down into my left leg to my toes, that got a little better after I showered. But it took me 15 minutes to get out of bed and into the shower.” Describe the specific pains and limitations you experience each day. Specify the body parts that hurt, or those that usually hurt that feel better that day. Also, describe the length of time that each pain lasted. For example, specify whether you had a two-hour headache or a momentary twinge of sharp pain in your head. If you needed help carrying out your daily activities, describe what kind of help you needed and who helped you. Write about the things you wanted to do but couldn’t because of your injuries. The more detail you add, the more the journal will help you remember what you have gone through.
Include other details about your day
There is a lot of information required to make a claim for your injuries. How much time did you miss from work? Which doctors did you see? Including this information in your journal at the time it is happening can help you and your lawyer collect the necessary information efficiently and help you get a resolution of your claim sooner.
Keeping a journal after your accident is one of the most powerful tools to help your claim. Unfortunately, too many people forget a lot of the little details if they do not keep a record. And a journal is not just to help you make a claim: look back after a few months and you can hopefully see how much your health improved. When you feel like you are not making progress, looking back at how you felt the day of the accident, and the day after, can hopefully help you see how much better you are doing now.
If you were hurt in an accident, a journal is a good start to helping your claim. But you also need to find a lawyer you can trust to help you with your claim. Keeping a journal will help your attorney, but by itself will not get an insurance company to give you the compensation you are entitled to.