Why Should I Keep a Post-Accident Journal?

In 2022, 122,434 motor vehicle accidents took place on Virginia’s roadways. The experience of being involved in a car accident is overwhelming for most people. Out of nowhere, you find yourself injured, and needing medical treatment. You also need to call your insurance company and deal with a litany of unplanned and unwelcome headaches. Keeping track of important documentation, facts, medical expenses, and other critical details in a post-accident journal can support your claim and even increase its value. The Hampton car accident lawyers at Shapiro, Washburn & Sharp have been handling personal injury claims since 1985 and are well-acquainted with the numerous obstacles that accident victims must overcome to recover the compensation they are entitled to for their losses. If you were injured by a negligent driver, call us to schedule your free consultation as soon as possible. 

What Should I Document in a Post-Accident Journal?

You should begin keeping a record of facts related to your accident and related injuries right away. People involved in traumatic events tend to have difficulty recalling detailed information and the longer you wait, the harder it will be to remember specifics. By writing down everything you can remember as soon as you are able, you won’t have to worry about forgetting a detail that could have made a huge difference in your claim.  

To help maximize your claim’s value, your post-accident journal should consistently and accurately track:

Details About Your Accident

At the very least, you need to include the date, time, and location of your accident. These details should also be included in your police crash report. Other details it is helpful to include are the road conditions, weather conditions, and what you can recall about the events leading up to and following the accident, such as: 

  • Did you notice the other driver on their phone?
  • Was the other driver tailgating you?
  • Were there skid marks on the roadway?
  • Did the other driver apologize or in any way claim to be at fault?
  • Were you or anyone in your car injured? If so, how did the injury happen? (Head struck the dashboard, etc.)

If you are able to do so, take pictures of everything. These combined with your journal can act as important pieces of evidence down the road. Unless you record these details in your post-accident journal, they will likely be forgotten.  

Emergency Medical Care You Received

Seeking prompt medical care following a car accident is vital. Even if you aren’t in pain and don’t notice any injuries, you could still be hurt. Many accident victims do not experience pain right away because they are in shock. The absence of any external evidence of physical harm does not mean you are not injured. Many serious injuries do not show immediate symptoms and, if left untreated, can worsen or even become fatal. Injuries that are not always immediately obvious include:

  • Whiplash
  • Back and neck injuries
  • Traumatic brain injuries
  • Spinal cord injuries
  • Soft-tissue damage
  • Muscle sprains and strains
  • Damage to internal organs and internal bleeding
  • Broken bones

All Medical Appointments

Save all of your doctor’s notes, medical bills, copies of prescriptions, and anything else given to you by a medical professional. These documents are proof of the extent of your damages. Keep all medical documentation associated with your car accident in a folder and keep it in your journal. You incurred these costs due to someone else’s negligence and you should not be liable for them.  

Your Injuries and Your Recovery

Arguably the most critical information to document relates to your injuries and how your recovery is coming along.  For example, did your injury force you to miss work while you recovered? If so, keep track of the days you were unable to work and, if possible, the wages you would have earned during that time. Ask your employer if they can provide your employment records or other paperwork that verifies this information.  

Other important details about your injuries and recovery include:

  • Describe your daily pain level using a scale of one through 10.
  • Describe how your injuries are affecting your daily life. (Do you need help to shower, do housework, make food, mind the children, etc.) 
  • Write about how your injuries are stopping you from engaging in activities you used to enjoy and from participating in family outings.
  • If your injuries have adversely impacted your relationship with your friends and/or significant other, document that as well.
  • If your injuries have evoked feelings of depression, isolation, anxiety, or other emotional trauma, that should also be recorded. 

Documenting the pain you experience every day and how your injuries have impacted your quality of life can have a considerable effect on the financial compensation you receive.  

Shapiro, Washburn & Sharp

The Hampton car accident lawyers at Shapiro, Washburn & Sharp have been helping car accident victims collect full and fair financial compensation for more than forty years. It is our diligence and dedication to our clients that allowed us to achieve a $1 million settlement for our client after a collision with a negligent driver left him permanently disabled. If you were injured in a car accident and are seeking experienced legal representation, call us at (833) 997-1774 or reach out through our website to schedule your free consultation. Our offices are in Hampton, Chesapeake, Norfolk, Portsmouth, and Virginia Beach.