Most people laugh when we tell them to keep a journal during their personal injury case. Many people have not written in a journal since elementary school. But this is no laughing matter. Keeping a detailed journal can show how your injuries affected you financially and emotionally. The ability to prove these details later in your case can help increase your case’s value.
The details of your accident are easy to remember the day or even the month after your accident. But some personal injury cases can take over a year to resolve if they go to trial. Writing down important details early in your case is a good way to make sure you do not forget them.
Write down things like the time of day, weather, who was there, and if there was any road construction in the area. Also make note of things the other driver was doing. Was he or she talking on the phone when the accident happened?
At the beginning of your case, write daily entries about how your injuries have affected you. Talk about any pain you may have, what part of your body has pain, and what your pain level is. Weekly entries are ok later in your case if not much is changing.
Be open and honest, but do not exaggerate. For example, do not write “I cannot move my leg” if moving your leg is painful. Instead, write “It is difficult and painful to move my leg.”
Has your daily living been affected as a result of your injuries? Write down responsibilities or activities you are limited or prevented from doing. Explain changes in your work life, home life, and hobbies. Do you have trouble performing your duties at work? Are you unable to take your children to soccer games? Cook dinner for your spouse? Perform house work? Exercise?
If your injuries limit your activities, be sure to write them down.
Did you miss work after the accident because you were healing? Because you did not have a car? Did you take time off to go see the doctor or chiropractor? It is important to write down the time you missed from work because you may have a claim for lost wages.
Some people have to see more than one doctor after they get injured in a car accident. They might see an emergency room doctor, a surgeon, a chiropractor, and a physical therapist, all for the same case. It is important to keep track of each doctor you see so your medical expenses get paid.
It is also important to keep track of the miles you travel to each appointment. You may have a claim for reimbursement of travel costs.
Did you doctor prescribe prescription medication for your injuries? Did you have a co-pay at the pharmacy? It is important to save pharmacy receipts and write down all money you pay for prescriptions. You may have a claim for reimbursement of medication costs.
Following graduation from Cumberland School of Law at Samford University, Eric Stevenson held a number of positions including Assistant State Attorney in the First Judicial Circuit of Florida. Eric has been practicing with partner Christopher Klotz since 2015 litigating personal injury and car accidents in Alabama and Florida.