What Is a Personal Injury Journal & Why Should I Create One?
If you were seriously hurt because someone failed to act with reasonable care, you may be wondering how to demonstrate the extent of your non-economic damages. While you’re entitled to seek compensation for the associated pain and suffering, mental anguish, anxiety, depression, and loss of enjoyment in life, you’ll have to prove that you did, in fact, incur such damages in order to recover a payout.
Unlike monetary losses like medical bills and missed wages, however, non-monetary losses are not accompanied by statements, invoices, or receipts. As such, demonstrating their extent can pose a challenge. Fortunately, there are several recognized approaches for proving intangible damages, one of which is to present journal entries.
Personal injury attorneys encourage all their clients to start writing in a journal as soon as possible (ideally on the same day they were hurt). For the first entry, record everything you can remember about the incident in question. Since the memory becomes increasingly less reliable with time, you’ll want to make a note of all pertinent details immediately following the accident.
For all subsequent entries, write about:
- The ways in which your injuries are inhibiting your everyday life;
- Your doctor’s appointments;
- The diagnostic tests you undergo and the results they reveal;
- The procedures you undergo;
- The side effects you experience as a result of your treatments;
- How your condition is harming your mental health; and
- The ways in which your injuries are affecting your loved ones.
It may seem redundant to log some aspects of your recovery, like your doctor’s appointments, but doing so is essential for building a strong personal injury claim. Such entries will supplement your medical records, and the additional context they provide will make it easy for the average person—like a claims adjuster, judge, or juror—to understand the issues you’re facing as a result of your injuries.
For even more context, ask loved ones and caregivers to write the occasional entry. Their testimony could prove incredibly valuable when it comes to demonstrating the ways in which your injuries have impacted your mood, behavior, and demeanor.
It’s important to remember, however, that keeping a detailed personal injury journal isn’t the only way you can contribute to the strength of your case. While your legal team will handle most of the logistics of your claim, it’s up to you to:
- Save all documentation of damages, like hospital bills and paystubs;
- Refer all correspondence from the opposing party to your attorney;
- Avoid giving the claims adjuster a premature recorded statement; and
- Avoid posting about the situation or your social life online.
Speak with a Rapid City Personal Injury Lawyer
If you intend to file a personal injury claim in South Dakota, turn to Beardsley, Jensen & Lee, PLLC. With the resources of a powerhouse practice, we remain committed to providing the personalized and attentive counsel of a small, local firm.
Our tireless team has secured more than $15 million in settlements and trial verdicts on behalf of our clients. Call (605) 250-1242 or use our Online Contact Form to set up a free consultation with a personal injury attorney in Rapid City.