Being injured in an accident can be a very tumultuous time in your life. It is important to try to remain calm and remember the steps that you must take to protect yourself and build a personal injury claim. One of these steps is to create and maintain an injury journal, also known as a pain diary. This is a tool that you can use to prove how much your injuries have impacted your life – evidence that you can use to fight for fair compensation during a claim.
Why You Should Keep an Injury Journal
In a personal injury lawsuit in Omaha, the burden of proof is yours as the plaintiff or filing party. This means that it is up to you to prove the elements of your case. This includes your damages or the compensable losses that you suffered because of the defendant’s breach of the duty of care (negligence). Damages can be both economic and non-economic; however, the latter is more difficult to prove.
Noneconomic damages, commonly known as pain and suffering, refer to the invisible or intangible losses suffered by an accident victim. Unlike economic damages, there are no bills or receipts that you can use to prove pain and suffering connected to an injury. There are also no x-rays that can show hard evidence of non-economic damages. Instead, proving this type of loss generally comes down to testimonies from the plaintiff.
Keeping an injury journal is your way to establish the pain and suffering connected to an injury or accident. It will contain a detailed account of your physical pain, emotional distress, anxiety, nightmares, trouble sleeping, symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder, mental anguish and other intangible damages that are difficult to prove otherwise. When it comes time to seek financial compensation for noneconomic damages, you can use your injury journal as evidence.
What to Include in Your Injury Journal
You should start your journal right away after a harmful accident, while the memories and details are still fresh in your mind. You may recall and document information early on that you forget later. In your injury journal, include the following information:
- Details of the accident. Your diary can document more than just your injuries. Write down facts about the accident, telling your story as you remember it. Be sure not to include any admissions of fault or guilt.
- Detailed descriptions of your pain. If you experience pain or discomfort connected to your accident injuries, record it in your injury journal each day. It may be helpful to refer to your pain on a scale of 1 to 10. Be honest and do not exaggerate your pain levels.
- The medications taken. List any medications that you have taken for your injuries, as well as how your pain changes throughout the day as you take different medicines. If you are unable to perform any activities because of your injuries or medical treatments, write this down.
- All doctor’s appointments and medical visits. Record your medical information in your journal. Carefully document all doctors and specialists that you’ve seen, the date and location of your visits, and the mileage to and from each facility. Keep a record of your medical bills, as well.
- The impact on your daily life. If your accident has led to a loss of mobility, psychological trauma or other issues that impact your ability to enjoy your favorite activities, hobbies or family life, document these specific difficulties and your limitations in your diary.
Turn your pain diary into physical evidence of how your injuries have affected your physical abilities, emotional stability and enjoyment of life. It is also wise to take pictures of your injuries in different stages of healing as further evidence to support your claim.
How to Use a Pain Diary to Support Your Personal Injury Claim
An injury journal kept by the victim is admissible as evidence during a personal injury claim in Nebraska. A personal injury lawyer can submit the pain diary to the courts, as well as present the information in it in a compelling way with storytelling skills. A lawyer will know how to express your pain and suffering as clearly and persuasively as possible to a judge or jury – optimizing your chances of receiving a fair noneconomic damage award.