An accident journal is a piece of useful evidence in seeking compensation for your injuries. Pain and suffering may be disproved as if it were unseen. But, written records provide you with details that you may forget over time. Therefore, keeping an accident journal can help you prove your claim. (Note: You can download your very own copy of the accident journal at the end of this article. Please feel free to print and use it for your documentation.)
What is an accident journal?
Notes, lists, diaries, and records of pain due to injuries can be put in an accident journal. Overall, it is collective documentation of the post-accident effects on your daily life. When presented in an organized form like a diary, it can serve as documentary evidence in court.
Your accident journal is another means of evidence collection. Like a diary, it should contain the memories of your accident. Write how you remember it as soon as possible so you will not lose important details.
The accident journal must also have records of how the accident has changed your life. Thus, the impact of your injuries on your daily activities should be recorded.
It is also wise to keep track of your medical appointments through the accident journal. You can use it to log your checkups and rehabilitation schedules. Physician notes would also be beneficial, as they would serve as further validation of your treatments.
You can also track the severity of your injuries through the accident journal. A good example would be using a pain scale similar to what patients use for cognitive behavioral therapy. The pain scale uses a rating system, where you can evaluate pain intensity. Such results from the daily logs can help you and your doctor observe how the pain changes over time. Some injuries only show up days or weeks after an accident. Hence, journaling is a good way to document your basis for seeking compensation.
Furthermore, by recording the number of visits to your doctor, you can also track the mileage of your medical expenses. Through the accident journal, you will have organized documentation of the hospital costs incurred by your injuries. Thus, you can validate those expenses for possible reimbursements through your claim.
How to maintain the authenticity of the accident journal
To avoid possible allegations of hearsay, maintain regular updates on the journal. Include the doctor’s statements if possible, or medical certificates for each visit to make the records verifiable. As stated in the Federal Rules of Evidence, recorded recollections have more weight if journaling is done as a regularly conducted activity.
Things to remember when writing your journal
Honesty will give your accident journal credibility. Avoid exaggerating the details of your accident. Be brief and straightforward in your entries. Use descriptive words to describe how your injury hurts. For example, you can note if the pain feels as sharp as though you were being sliced with a knife. Write it as you feel about it. Doing this will show the severity of your injuries.
Write the date on each entry.
Schedule a specific time of day to write in your accident journal. Forming a habit will prevent you from forgetting important details that may further strengthen your claim.
Always put your signature after writing your daily notes.
Signed documents add authenticity. Your signatures in your accident journal will serve as an admission of truth. It serves as testimony, that everything written there came from you.
Record relevant conversations.
Don’t just say, I went to see the doctor today. Write what happened during your checkup. Take note of the doctor’s recommendations. If you had a conversation with the insurance company, jot down the details.
Save all post-accident documents.
Make a file of all the documents related to your accident. This should include photographs of the accident scene. Remember to take photos of your injuries as well. By regularly saving photos as your wounds heal over time, you can preserve evidence of your damage. Witness accounts should also be recorded.
Write as often as you need to. Treat your accident journal as a keeper of all the accounts related to your accident. In a way, this may also ease your mental and emotional burden. Through journaling, you may be able to cope with your distress.
Let your attorney check your journal.
Keep in mind that your accident journal may be presented as evidence in court. Never let the other party use your words against you. Therefore, record your words and thoughts in an organized and respectable manner. A trustworthy attorney can help you make your accident journal presentable.
What should be included in an accident journal?
Details of your accident
The sooner you write about the details of your accident, the better. It might be harder to recall specific things that occurred as the days passed by. If you believe that your injury is a result of someone else’s negligence, write about it. Record when, where, and how the accident happened.
Police reports and witness accounts
Critical information from the authorities can strengthen your claim. Record statements of the witnesses and their contact information. These reports will further prove your right to compensation.
Records of pain due to injuries
As previously mentioned, using a pain scale can help you demonstrate the level of your physical suffering. You can use numbers 1 to 10 to rate your pain, depending on intensity. Another way is by indicating your pain levels from moderate to worst. Write about how often and where you feel the pain of your injuries.
With the accident journal, you will be able to track your medical treatments. Jot down your symptoms and sudden outbreaks whenever you need to. Indicate the dosage of medicines like pain relievers that you are advised to take. The medications prescribed by your doctor can be used to evaluate pain and suffering. It can be used as proof of physical damage.
Impact of the accident on your daily life
Your accident journal will be your post-accident memoir. Use it to illustrate how the accident changed your life. Write about how your injuries have hindered you from doing your usual routines at home and at your workplace.
Expenses incurred due to the accident
After your accident, you may experience hardships due to the expenses. Your accident journal will help you track the mileage of your losses. Medical bills, vehicle repairs, physical rehabilitation, and even attorney’s fees may put a dent in your financial stability. Thankfully, there are good ones like Your Accident Lawyer who will not charge fees until they win your case.
Would you like to get a printable copy of the Accident Journal? Please click on the download icon below:
If you prefer to edit your Accident Journal through your phone or computer, click to download this Google version.