Documentation is crucial for a strong legal case, but people typically don’t realize that some forms of unconventional documentation can be the most powerful. Many lawyers ask their clients to keep diaries when they are involved in a personal injury case. Among other things, a diary provides a chronological time lapse of your pain and suffering following the injury and details the specific limitations your injury has caused. This can provide additional proof of damages and help your attorney persuade the jury in your favor.
What to Write in Your Personal Injury Diary
A personal injury diary is different than one that you might typically keep. It is important to remember that the purpose of a personal injury diary is to prove that your injury has caused pain and suffering. Start by writing down everything that your injury has stopped you from doing, this could be anything from not being able to apply makeup properly, to being late or being unable to go to work because you can no longer drive a car. Record each instance when performing everyday activities causes you pain or if you can only perform an activity for a limited amount of time. Write down how long you are impaired due to your injury and how it affected you in any way. Remember to record the specific date with every entry you make.
If your lawsuit goes to trial, you will not be the only person to read your diary. Your lawyer will use your personal injury diary to prove damages and may present its contents as evidence to the jury during trial, so it is wise to avoid writing anything embarrassing, unrelated, or anything that might hurt your case. When you hire an experienced injury lawyer, he will explain to you in greater specifics what should and should not go into your personal injury diary.
More than One Way to Keep a Diary
There are many formats that can be used to keep a diary. Your lawyer may have a specific preference, but most lawyers will accept any form your diary takes whether it is spreadsheets, emails, video recordings, or simple handwritten notes in chronological order. Then again, there are some formats that should generally be avoided.
Social media platforms like Twitter, Facebook, and the like are not considered good formats to use for a personal injury diary. In general, if you are a plaintiff in a personal injury case, you should be particularly careful about the use of social media. During a deposition or when you are testifying at trial, any comments or postings you made on social media may be used by the insurance company to prove that your injuries were not as severe as you claim. It can be hard to prove your pain and suffering when your social media profile shows lots of pictures of you smiling and having a good time. Additionally, judges will often require the plaintiff to release all usernames and passwords for further examination in a trial, so all recent and previous activity will be available. Never delete anything from a profile as it might be recovered and used against you during trial if what you deleted something that pertained to your case.
If you were injured in an accident, consulting an attorney should be one of your first steps and he or she should advise you on how to effectively use your diary to help your case.