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The days or weeks following a serious car accident can have you feeling shocked and distressed. As you grapple with the physical and emotional challenges of recovery, keeping a diary might be the last thing on your mind.

However, documenting your experience is a powerful tool for recovery and securing the compensation you deserve. Read on to learn why maintaining a post-collision diary is an important step in the aftermath of a car accident and how it can help you navigate the road to recovery and secure a fair settlement.

Why Should You Keep a Diary After a Car Accident?

After a car accident, you may face a long and challenging recovery. Whether it’s a broken bone, whiplash, or fighting the symptoms of shock after a car accident, documenting your experiences in a diary can be critical for several reasons:

  • Establishing Causation: One of the most crucial aspects of any personal injury claim is establishing a direct link between the accident and your injuries. By maintaining a detailed diary, you can record the progression of your symptoms starting from the day of the accident. This can help establish causation, clarifying that your injuries resulted from the collision.
  • Proving Damages: Your diary records your physical and emotional struggles, detailing how the accident has affected your daily life, relationships, and overall well-being. This evidence can help show the extent of your suffering to insurance companies or in a court of law.
  • Calculating Compensation: Insurance companies and legal representatives often use your pain and suffering to calculate compensation. Your diary entries can help quantify the extent of your physical and emotional pain.

For instance, if your diary consistently notes high pain levels and emotional distress due to injuries from your car accident, it can support your claim for a higher settlement.

What to Include in Your Post-Collision Diary

To ensure your diary becomes a powerful tool that supports your case, include specific details and meticulously document your experiences. Some elements to incorporate into your post-collision diary include:

  • A detailed description of what happened: Include everything you can remember about the car accident. Include details about who was involved, weather conditions, and diagrams showing the points of impact.
  • Add notes about your claim: Update your diary with information on professionals you’ve contacted, such as car mechanics and insurance adjusters.
  • Include photographs of damages: Pictures of damage to your vehicle and physical injuries. Something that may appear irrelevant early on can be important down the line in a personal injury case.
  • Medical treatment and appointments: Record every medical visit and treatment you receive. Include dates, times, and locations. Document what the doctors told you during each appointment.
  • Pain levels and symptoms: Note your pain levels daily using a scale ranging from 0 (no pain) to 10 (severe pain). Describe the type of pain (aching, sharp, throbbing), its location, and any changes over time.
  • Emotional well-being: Don’t overlook your emotional state. Document your feelings and mental health each day. If you’re experiencing shock after a car accident, note how it affects your emotions. Mention any symptoms of stress, depression, anxiety, or other emotional challenges you’ve noticed in yourself.
  • Daily activities and limitations: Detail how the accident has impacted your daily routines and activities. Include information about any limitations or challenges you face. If you can’t perform specific tasks due to your injuries, document them.
  • Medications and prescriptions: Document medications or prescriptions you’re taking, including dosages and frequency. Note any side effects or changes in your medication regimen.
  • Financial expenses: Maintain a comprehensive record of all financial expenses related to your accident and recovery. This includes medical bills, rehabilitation costs, expenses related to transportation to medical appointments, and out-of-pocket expenditures.

Tips for Keeping an Accurate Diary After a Crash

To ensure that your diary can be used as a resource for your claim, use these tips to ensure your records contain accurate details about your ongoing recovery.

  • Handwritten vs. digital: Choosing to handwrite or use a digital tool for your diary comes down to personal preference, but digital records make it easier for courts to verify the dates and times of the entries. Consider using diary or journaling apps or write yourself daily emails and store them in a dedicated folder for easy access.
  • Consistency is key: Commit to recording your experiences daily or as often as necessary—the more detailed and consistent your entries, the stronger your documentation.
  • Date every entry: Always include the date and time of each entry. This helps establish a timeline of your recovery and demonstrates the ongoing nature of your pain and suffering.
  • Use descriptive language: Describe the location and intensity of your pain and how it affects your daily life. This specificity adds depth to your documentation.
  • Privacy and security: If you choose a digital format, ensure your diary is stored securely. Use password protection or encryption to safeguard your sensitive information.
  • Consult with an attorney: Consider consulting with an experienced car accident attorney. They can provide guidance on documenting your experience and advise you on the legal aspects of your case.

Remember that your post-accident diary may not remain private. If your claim goes to court, your diary may become part of the discovery process, so keep your journal factual and professional.

When you’ve been involved in a car crash, legal assistance is essential to protect your rights and receive the compensation you deserve. The experienced auto accident lawyers at Dudley DeBosier can help you navigate the legal process and support your case.

Contact us for a free case evaluation to discuss your situation, explore your options, and receive guidance on your path to recovery. A well-documented post-collision diary can be a powerful resource in building your case, and our team is ready to assist you every step of the way.

A diary can be a great tool to help you advocate for yourself to your doctors and jurors throughout the life of your case. However, like most documents related to your injuries and incident, this too can become admissible in court. Be sure to consult with your attorney regarding a diary to ensure this resource makes sense for your case.

Disclaimer: This content has been reviewed by Chad Lederman, Director of Legal Operations at our New Orleans office.

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