Recommendations on Keeping Records of Personal Injuries
When you’re injured, time can move fast. It can be easy to forget important details, like the times, dates, what you saw, and what you remember of how it happened. Unfortunately, some of the details that are easiest to forget are the things that may be important to establishing your personal injury case down the road.
Keeping detailed records is key for an attorney who is trying to help establish facts in your favor. But after an accident, keeping detailed records can be harder than ever, especially if you’re undergoing medical treatment, dealing with a concussion, or even just managing the headache of insurance or legal paperwork.
If you are able, get the names and contact information of any witnesses at the scene. As soon as you can, write down what you remember about the facts and circumstances of the accident. Those details can fade with shock, or you could forget to leave notes about a photograph after you took it at the scene. Starting a journal as soon as possible can help to cement those details for when you need to recall them months or years down the road.
But it shouldn’t stop right after the event. You should document when you started feeling pain and when you seek medical treatment, including what kind of treatment and how many times you went. Note what your doctor said, such as recommendations for other treatment or medication.
You should also note how your injuries progress. How does treatment help, or how did the pain progress? Did the injury interfere with daily life at all? If so, providing specific instances of how the consequences of the injury interfere with your activities can help to establish facts in a personal injury case.
One example of an injury interfering with your daily life is in time lost from work. If you took time off after the incident, make sure to document how much time and how it was connected to the accident. Were you in too much pain to work? Did you have to go to medical appointments? Did the stress cause you to be unproductive and take time off? All of these things should be documented.
But it doesn’t stop at work—your life doesn’t all happen at the office. You should also make records or notes of ways the injury interfered with your family or hobbies, as a lawyer can use that to make a case for pain and suffering. If you missed something like a child’s graduation or community event, record how that made you feel and why you missed it due to the injury. A judge or jury may be able to award additional compensation for that.
There are more material costs as well—did you have to have food or groceries delivered because you were unable to drive? That’s something a court can use to award compensation. Keep the receipts and make a record of it.
The point of keeping a journal throughout this experience is to make sure you have as complete of a record of your injury and its consequences as possible. Pursuing a personal injury claim can be a long process, and you may forget details along the way. Starting early and making a habit of recording details throughout can ensure that you and your attorney have as much material to work with as possible to support your claim.