What Is a Personal Injury Journal and Why Should I Use One After an Accident?
When someone suffers injury due solely to the negligent or reckless actions of another party, they will need solid evidence to help substantiate their claim. It is very rare that a responsible party will freely admit their wrongdoing and write a check to cover full damages. Most often, an injury victim will be dealing with the at-fault party’s insurance company, whose goal is to pay out as little as possible for the claim.
Accident injury victims are entitled to compensation not only for direct economic losses such as medical bills, lost wages, and loss of earning capacity, but also for noneconomic losses such as physical pain and suffering and emotional trauma.
Showing economic damages is mainly a matter of totaling all of the expenses incurred and determining how much money the victim would have earned had it not been for the accident. Noneconomic damages are intangible and difficult to quantify. They are based on more subjective factors, such as the intensity of the physical pain that you feel from day-to-day.
The challenge for most people is to remember everything that happens on a daily basis. Recovering from an injury is a process with a natural ebb and flow – there are some days when the extreme pain and anxiety gets the best of you, while there are other days when you are more able to cope with it. This is why it is very valuable to keep a personal injury journal, because without one, it is easy to forget many of the details of what you are going through.
What is a Personal Injury Journal?
As the name implies, a personal injury journal is similar to a personal journal or diary you might maintain to keep a record of any important events in your life. Aside from the specific subject matter that you will want to include, the main difference between a personal injury journal and most other types of journals is that this one may not stay private.
If your accident injury claim ends up in court, your personal injury journal might be discoverable, meaning that you could be compelled to turn it over to the other side. So, you should always remember when you are expressing your thoughts, feelings, and experiences in your journal that it may be read someday by your adversaries or even a jury. With this in mind, be sure that your entries are accurate and written as professionally as possible.
What Should a Personal Injury Journal Include?
Here are some of the most important pieces of information you should record in your personal injury journal:
- Accident Description: You should document the particulars of the accident that caused your injury. Note the date, time, and location of the accident, and what happened immediately before, during, and after it occurred. List who was involved, who witnessed the accident, and the contact information for these witnesses. If there is a police report (which there should be), it will contain most of this information. Still, it is good to have this information documented on your own as well.
- Medical Appointments: As you work toward recovering or reaching maximum medical improvement, you will most likely be seeing doctors and other health professionals on a regular basis. Note in your journal the date and time of each appointment and the details of what took place with each visit.
- Medical Procedures and Treatments: Whatever surgeries, procedures, and other treatments you are receiving should also be noted in your journal. Include details about each, how they went, how they have helped you improve (if at all), medications, dosages, etc.
- Time Missed from Work: If you have had to miss work because of your injury, take note of every day you have missed and approximately how much you have lost in gross wages.
- Daily Discomfort and Pain: Note every day or as often as you can the level of pain you are experiencing. Describe the pain in detail, and note which activities are the most painful for you.
- Emotional Outlook: Take note of how you are feeling emotionally during all of this. What are your concerns about the future? Are you worried that you will not be able to return to work? What about finances? Are you having trouble making ends meet?
- Impact of Injury on your Quality of Life: Take note of the ways in which your injury has kept you from participating in activities you once enjoyed. For example, has your injury prevented you from being able to run or play sports? Do you have to burden your loved ones for rides because you are not able to drive a car?
It is important to note that, although personal injury journals are usually created in written form, there are other options that might be more suitable for you. For example, you can create an electronic journal on your computer, or you can create audio recordings on your smartphone if you are having trouble writing or typing because of your injury.
Contact an Experienced Alabama Personal Injury Lawyer to Discuss your Case
If you or a loved one suffered injury at the hands of another party, it is very important to work with a skilled and knowledgeable personal injury attorney. Your attorney will give you strong legal guidance on issues such as what to put in your personal injury journal and many others, and they will fight hard to recover the full and fair compensation you deserve.
If your injury occurred in Alabama, M. Adam Jones and Associates is here to help. Message us online or call our office today for a free consultation and case assessment. We look forward to serving you!
M. Adam Jones,
M. Adam Jones & Associates, LLC
206 N. Lena St.
Dothan, AL 36303
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