If you have been hurt in an accident, a personal injury journal can be a valuable account of your experience. It is a good place to keep track of tangible details like when and where each of your medical appointments took place, and intangibles like how you felt physically and mentally.
There can also be drawbacks to a journal, so it is a good idea to talk with a personal injury lawyer about whether to keep one.
Personal Diaries v. Personal Injury Journals
A personal injury journal is explicitly focused on your recovery. You might be tempted to keep these notes in a personal diary, but that is not a good idea. Other parties may be entitled to discover what you have written if it also contains accident-related information.
Ironically, if you keep a journal because your personal injury attorney asked you to, you might not need to turn it over unless you want to. If it is protected by lawyer-client privilege, and therefore, it may be entitled to more protection than your private diary.
What to Keep in a Personal Injury Journal
Your journal may provide key information that authenticates your claims. However, it will also be scrutinized as a litigation tool, so be careful not to exaggerate your experiences. Here is some helpful information to include:
What happened: Write down the details of the accident as soon as possible while the memories are still fresh, such as:
- The day, date, and time of the accident
- Location and landmarks
- Road and weather conditions
- Parties involved
- Identities and contact information of responders and witnesses
- What people said and did
Medical information to keep track of:
- When and where each doctor appointment takes place
- The type of doctor seen such as orthopedist, neurologist, general practitioner
- The doctor’s summary and recommendations
- Prescriptions and medical equipment prescribed, along with their dosage, frequency, and costs
Lost income – If you had to miss work, write this down. Include any dates you missed work and the cause, such as medical appointments or pain. Track the wages you would have been paid as well as vacation days, sick time, or other benefits that helped compensate your days off.
Personal impact – Some aspects of an injury cannot be illustrated by medical reports and lists of lost wages and expenses. A real-time journal is an ideal place to keep track of these intangible but important elements:
- Your physical pain, including the body parts affected, severity, and how it interrupts your life
- Your mental and emotional state, which can be significantly affected when an injury keeps you from participating in hobbies or disrupts personal relationships
Contact Us at Rutter Mills for a Free Consultation
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