If you were seriously hurt through no fault of your own, you should start a personal injury journal as soon as possible (ideally on the same day of the accident). Should you have grounds for a claim, detailed journal entries might contribute to the strength of your case.
For the first entry, write down everything you can remember about the incident in question. Since human memory is notoriously unreliable, you will want to make a note of even the smallest details while they’re still fresh in your mind.
For all subsequent entries, write about the ways in which the injuries are impacting your everyday life. For example, you should record:
- Every doctor’s appointment;
- Every shift that you miss at work;
- Every opportunity you’re unable to make the most of because of your condition;
- How your condition is affecting your mental health; and
- How your condition is affecting relationships with loved ones.
In addition to contextualizing your medical records, journal entries will help prove the extent of your non-economic damages. Although intangible, these damages are every bit as real as economic damages like lost wages and hospital bills.
Fortunately, tort law in Michigan recognizes as much and allows for the recovery of mental anguish, loss of enjoyment in life, scarring, disfigurement, and pain and suffering, in some circumstances. Since you cannot prove such damages using bills and receipts, though, you will have to find other ways to show that you actually incurred these damages, which is why keeping a journal is advisable.
When writing in your journal over the course of your recovery, just make sure to avoid these common mistakes:
- Overstating your pain;
- Understating your pain; and
- Failing to record noteworthy events.
It may be tempting to rate your pain a 10 out of 10 every day, but it’s highly unlikely that you’re in continuous debilitating pain. (And if you are, you should ask your doctor about ways to achieve relief.)
In that same vein, though, your recovery is unlikely to be linear. Just because your pain is at a 5 one day doesn’t mean you have to record it as a 4 the next.
As long as you’re honest when writing in your journal, you don’t have to worry about overstating or understating your pain. Just record how you’re feeling in the present moment, without any concern for yesterday or tomorrow.
Failing to track your recovery diligently is a common mistake. If you don’t have the energy to write an entry on an especially bad day, ask a friend or loved one to do it for you. As long as it’s in your own words, such entries could still contribute to the strength of your claim.
Discuss Your Case with a Personal Injury Attorney in Detroit
If you intend to file a personal injury claim, turn to Seva Law Firm for help at every stage of the proceedings. We have recovered more than $100 million in successful settlements and verdicts for injured parties and their loved ones. Call (248) 385-5704 or fill out our Contact Form to schedule a free consultation with a personal injury lawyer in Detroit.