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How do I document my struggle to recover from an auto accident?

By William J. Price

After an auto accident, a jury can decide to compensate you for both the injuries you suffered in the crash and the struggles you experienced throughout your recovery.  Many clients face the same problem at trial: you look healthy and happy, you’re back to work, and you can do all the activities you enjoyed before the accident – making it difficult for the jury to imagine your life in the aftermath of your crash. Proving your struggle is the most difficult part of many cases, but there are steps you can take to strengthen your claim.

How to document your recovery after an auto accident:

Take lots of videos

Most of us have a smartphone that can be used to take videos. Record as much as possible at every stage of your recovery, then turn the clips over to your lawyer to help them demonstrate your day-to-day struggles. Take videos of things like home exercise programs recommended by your doctor, tasks you’re struggling with around the house or at work, and activities with friends or family. Videos paint a much clearer picture for the jury than written or spoken details.

Identify witnesses immediately

Recruit friends, family members, and others who have witnessed your struggle to help tell your story. For example, you could ask a close coworker to testify about how you’ve been unable to do certain job duties or need more time or assistance to complete projects than you did before the accident. Get these individuals involved with your case as soon as possible and be sure to provide their contact info to your lawyer.

Keep an accurate and detailed journal

Simple notes about being in pain, not being able to sleep, or struggling to get dressed won’t do much for your case. When you’re journaling about your recovery, write detailed reflections about what you go through each day. For example, one former client described in detail how she was forced to sit down more than a dozen times while making dinner because she struggled to stand for even short periods of time. She also drew in her notebook the distances from the oven to the chair. This type of detailed journaling can be very beneficial to your case.

Stay on top of your treatment

Schedule appointments with your doctors and specialists as soon as possible and reschedule immediately if you’re forced to miss one. Juries become skeptical of victims asking for money for injuries when they regularly miss appointments or there are large gaps in time between the accident and treatment. Your story and the amount of money you request must directly reflect the severity and timeline of your medical treatment. If not, this inconsistency will create doubt and likely lead to a poor outcome.

An experienced lawyer can help you understand which parts of your recovery you should highlight to build the strongest case.

About Elk & Elk Attorney William J. Price

William J. Price focuses his practice on personal injury litigation for people who have been seriously injured or killed as a result of medical malpractice, nursing home neglect, defective products, negligence in construction sites, and trucking and auto accidents. He has been recognized by Super Lawyers, Martindale-Hubbell, AVVO, and is a member of the Multi-Million Dollar Advocates Forum and Million Dollar Advocates Forum.