How to Keep a Personal Injury Journal

A personal injury journal can be a powerful tool if you are considering a personal injury lawsuit. The more specifically and accurately you are able to document your injuries, the more likely it is that you will be appropriately compensated for them. If you choose to keep a journal, your Orange Park accident lawyer can advise you on the type of relevant information that should be included, and how these details may strengthen your case.

Describe How You Are Affected by Your Injuries.

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Keeping a personal injury journal or diary has one simple purpose: to thoroughly and accurately describe how your everyday activities are affected by the pain, discomfort and injuries you have sustained. Your journal should detail how you feel from the very first moment you wake up, throughout a normal day’s activities until you go to sleep at night. Explain how the way you live has been changed or altered by your pain and injuries. All days, the good as well as the bad, should be truthfully documented in your journal. Make sure you are accurate, detailed and honest in your journal entries; never fabricate or exaggerate. Even though your Orange Park accident lawyer will attempt to maintain your journal’s confidentiality, during the litigation process it may become discoverable. It may, in fact, become necessary to use your journal as a documentation of your pain and suffering. The right to recovery for pain and suffering is recognized by the law. Because of this, the manner in which your suffering, pain and injuries have influenced your job performance, disposition, emotional well-being, and marital relations, is very pertinent and important to your lawsuit. A cause of action for the way injuries may have effected marital relations is recognized by the law as well, and is known as a claim for loss of consortium. A parent-child loss of consortium is also recognized by some jurisdictions. Your Orange Park accident lawyer will advise you if yours does. If so, problems to the parent-child relationship caused by the injury or pain must be identified.

How to Document Your Injuries

Describe your suffering and pain in your own words. Record entries in your journal every day just as you would if it were not going to be used in litigation. Write down how you felt at the accident scene, while you were in the hospital, and during every day the diary is kept.

Note Each Specific Area of Your Body That Feels Pain and Discomfort

Be aware of your body and focus on how each body part feels. Record whether any body part is limited in its movement and/or experiences pain during the course of normal social or work related activities.

Record of Witnesses

When it comes to preparing for trial or settlement talks, your Jacksonville personal injury attorney will need the name and contact information of any witnesses who can substantiate the facts of the accident, your pain and suffering, loss of wages, or any other consequences of your injury. Your journal should contain the personal contact information of any witnesses with respect to the accident or particular event.

Record of Treating Physicians

It is also important to keep a good record of the various physicians you have visited for the treatment of your injuries. This is especially important if you have suffered serious injuries that require extensive medical treatment and must visit a number of different specialists for each type of injury. You should record the names, addresses, telephone numbers, and any other pertinent information of your physicians or health care providers.

Record of Medical Treatment and Doctor Visits

Your Jacksonville personal injury attorney will also ask you to keep a log of each visit and each type of medical treatment you receive throughout your recovery phase. You also need to keep track of the nature, extent and progression of your injuries, as well as any advice your doctor gives you during each visit or treatment session. Additionally, you should keep a record of all medical bills and documentation regarding your medical treatments.

Explain Your Feelings and Emotions

The pain and discomfort you experience from your injury may affect your emotions. Your Jacksonville injury attorney wants you to honestly and openly describe how these conditions affect you. It is best to avoid a consistently pessimistic attitude when writing in your journal and you would do well to avoid statements that can easily be contradicted. For instance, you may want to write “I can’t move my leg” or “I can’t sleep,” but rare is the situation where an individual is completely unable to perform these functions. Simply stating that you experience severe difficulty moving your leg or sleeping is more accurate. Exaggerated or inaccurate language will very likely be used against you by the prosecution during cross-examination. Whenever possible, your Jacksonville injury attorney will want you to maintain an upbeat, positive attitude. For instance, you may experience severe pain, but it is beneficial to try to describe what you are doing to cope with it. Give examples of the efforts you are making to deal with the pain and relate what you have done so far, or are planning to do, in an attempt to alter your lifestyle to compensate for the limitations caused by your pain and suffering.

Maintain records of income loss, earning capacity loss, or other wage loss details

Make and keep copies of W-2 forms, payroll stubs, and income tax returns. If you are not able to compile these financial records, your Jacksonville injury attorney will ask you to sign authorization forms that will allow him or her to access these records and assist you in keeping your records up to date. It is likely that your injuries or pain have caused, or will cause you to miss work. Whenever this happens make an entry in your journal recording the date missed, what caused you to miss work, how you were feeling that day, and if wages or benefits were lost because you were unable to work.

Contact an Orange Park Accident Lawyer Today

If you have been injured and have questions you would like to discuss with an experienced and competent Orange Park accident lawyer, please call John Fagan at (904) 278-1000.