Post-Crash Documentation Important Tool In Proving Damages

After a car accident, Chicago drivers may suffer from debilitating head and body injuries. As time passes, it becomes more difficult to remember the details of the accident. By the time the case goes to trial, the loss of details and lack of documentation place a heavy burden of proof on the victim to show the extent of their injuries.

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A post-accident journal is an effective way for victims of a car accident in Chicago to keep track of their injuries, treatment, and the effect their injury has on their quality of life. This information is essential in proving non-economic damages, and securing adequate compensation for the injury.

Starting A Journal

Accident journals are more than just a collection of writings about the crash; they are a collection of documents and information that show the progress of an injury over time. The first thing victims should do is obtain a copy of the police report and any photographs of the accident scene to be used as evidence of the accident.

Next, victims need to write their own recollection of the events, including the date, time, and conditions surrounding the accident. It is important to note weather conditions or any other extenuating circumstances that may have contributed to the accident, and not just the position of the vehicles.

With the spread of mobile technology, there is no need for the victim to keep a handwritten journal. Smartphone and tablet apps can track medical symptoms on the go, while word processing programs allow victims to write more in-depth information. The apps even provide reminders for the victim to complete their daily and weekly writing assignments.

Daily Tasks

On a daily basis, victims need to keep track of several items:

  • Physical discomfort—Economic and non-economic damages in an accident are directly related to the type and extent of the victim’s injuries. Journal entries detailing daily levels of physical discomfort and pain show how the injuries affect the victim’s ability to function normally. Assign the pain level a number, usually between 1 and 10. The numbers provide a point of reference that can be used to compare pain levels across different days.
  • Mental state—The mind is just as affected by an accident as the body. Victims should note instances of depression or changes in mood, as these might be signs of a serious medical condition.
  • Work function—Time lost at work is a large factor in determining damages. Victims should write down as much information as they can about the tasks they were unable to complete, and the effect that had on their job and co-workers.

Once a victim starts writing on a daily basis, it is essential to continue the habit. Failure to do so might look like the victim is embellishing their discomfort.

Weekly Tasks

On a weekly basis, victims should take note of the bigger picture:

  • Doctor’s visits—Every trip to the doctor should be covered in detail with the weekly tasks. The victim needs to write down any discussions that occurred with the doctor, as well as comments the doctor made about the healing process. Sessions with a physical therapist must be covered in the same way.
  • Medications—During the week, victims need to detail the medications they are taking, especially for pain or mental/emotional distress. It is important to note any side effects or negative changes to the victim’s physical or mental state while on the medication, so they can share that information with their doctor. The journal should make special note of any changes to the medication regimen.
  • Weekly summary—It is easy to get lost in the minutiae of day-to-day activities, but a Chicago car accident attorney needs insight into the bigger picture to make their case. A victim should include a few paragraphs once a week to detail the impact their injury has had on their ability to enjoy their normal activities and their ability to provide adequate care for their family.

The Journal At Trial

The purpose of the journal at trial is to show the non-economic impact an injury had on the victim’s life. Economic damages cover the cost of medical care and expenses, and those damages are determined by the doctor’s assessment of the injuries.

Non-economic damages provide assistance for the pain and suffering a victim experiences after a car accident in Chicago. Juries and judges can award non-economic damages for mental anguish as a result of an accident, or to compensate a victim for the loss of pleasure from daily activities. Finally, the non-economic damages pay for lost earnings the victim suffered with the loss of time at work.

A Chicago car accident attorney can help victims keep up with their post-accident journals and ensure victims have the proper documentation to prove the extent of their injures at trial.

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