What Details Should I Document in a Personal Injury Journal?

Posted on behalf of Jeff Pitman on July 2, 2021 in Personal Injury
Updated on February 24, 2022

young man with crutches and laptop on sofaAfter suffering an injury caused by another’s reckless or negligent actions, accident victims may need to seek compensation to recover medical costs and other damages. Documenting your injuries in a personal injury journal can help support your claim and provide strong evidence of the injuries you sustained.

PKSD explains how to properly document your injuries for this purpose and how this type of journal could benefit your injury claim.

If another person’s negligence caused you harm, we are prepared to help. Call our law offices to schedule a meeting with one of our qualified Milwaukee-based personal injury lawyers. There is no cost or obligation for this meeting.

FREE Case Review. 877-877-2228

A Personal Injury Journal is Not a Diary

When documenting your injuries during your recovery, it does not matter whether you use a computer or write it out in an actual journal. What matters is what you document, and how often.

Keep in mind that a personal injury journal is a tool to track the progress of your injuries, not a diary. When you write in this journal, details are necessary, but long, rambling and overly intimate paragraphs are not.

Here is what a personal injury journal should include:

Relevant Details About the Accident

Write down as much as you can remember about the accident and how it happened as soon as possible. Memories can fade quickly, especially after a traumatic event. At a minimum be sure to include these and other relevant details about your accident:

  • The date, time and location of the accident
  • Weather conditions (if the accident happened outside)
  • What you were doing right up to when you were injured
  • What you remember the at-fault party doing leading up to the accident
  • What the at-fault party said after the accident
  • Badge numbers and names of police and other first responders
  • Medical care received at the scene and if you had to be transported for further care
  • Chemical tests or citations issued at the scene
  • Names and contact details of any eyewitnesses

These details can help you to recall important details about what happened without having to rely solely on your memory.

Document Your Medical Care

Track the medical care you receive throughout your recovery. Be sure to describe which treatments are helping you to improve or provide pain relief, and what is not helping:

  • Surgeries
  • Physical therapy
  • Medications, including the dosage and frequency
  • Which medications are helping and which ones are not
  • Any negative side effects of the medication (dizziness, nausea, etc.)
  • How long the treatment or medication provided relief
  • Any other medical interventions

Daily Pain Symptoms

Recording the daily pain symptoms caused by your injuries helps your attorney have solid evidence of the extent of your physical pain and emotional suffering. Do not exaggerate your pain or injuries, but also do not downplay your pain levels. Answer similar questions about your pain symptoms daily, such as:

  • Where are you experiencing the greatest amount of your pain?
  • Are there other symptoms that accompany your pain?
  • Are your symptoms constant, or do they seem to come and go?
  • How would you rank the severity of your symptoms on a scale of 1 to 10?

Did Your Injuries Cause You to Miss Work?

If you were unable to work while recovering, write down those dates. Once you return to work, keep track of any time you had to miss for doctor’s appointments and follow-up care.

How Did Your Injuries Impact Your Daily Life?

In addition to recording the amount of pain your injuries cause, it is also important to track how your injuries are impacting your life on a daily basis. For example:

  • Are you able to do household tasks and manage your personal hygiene without help?
  • Can you drive a car to get your groceries?
  • Did you have to give up any of your favorite pastimes or hobbies?
  • Have your injuries kept you from playing with your children?
  • Do your injuries affect your ability to sleep, have sex or exercise?
  • Are you feeling depressed or anxious because of your injuries or inability to get on with your life?

Personal Injury Journals May Be Discoverable

As you document your injuries daily, be aware that your journal could be admitted as evidence if your claim ends up in court. This means that at some point, opposing counsel, the defendant and others may have access to your journal entries. When writing in your journal, be sure to:

  • Date each entry
  • If handwritten, print neatly so it is legible
  • Provide details without rambling
  • Be accurate, but do not exaggerate

Organized and consistent entries provide the most value in a personal injury journal. If you sporadically add information here and there, your journal will have less impact on your claim.

Call PKSD For Legal Help

At PKSD, our team of legal professionals is deeply committed to helping our clients obtain compensation for their injuries and other losses. We fight hard on behalf of our clients to hold at-fault parties accountable for their actions.

Learn more about our services and whether you have a case. Your initial consultation is completely free, and if we represent you, there are no upfront costs to pay. We accept cases on contingency, so we do not get paid unless you do.

Experienced Lawyers. Millions Recovered. 877-877-2228

Back to top