Documenting what is referred to as pain and suffering is of utmost importance in a personal injury case. Of course, pictures of your physical injuries can be worth a thousand words, but some pain and suffering can’t be seen by the naked eye. In this situation, your diary could be very important. Later, for example, if you were asked how many headaches you suffered through, and your degree of pain, you would have physical evidence—your diary.
You won’t remember all that happened months from now when you need it, so just write it down now. My grandfather, a very successful architect, used to say, “A 29¢ notepad can be more valuable than a million-dollar memory.”
I recommend that you include the following information in your diary, under these categories:
- Pain Description. Here, I would describe the pain location, type (shooting, burning, pressure, etc.), and degree of pain (on a scale of 1-10, with 10 being uncontrolled weeping). Also, note the time of day and how long the pain lasted.
- Medication Taken. A simple description of the name of the medication, dosage, and when it was taken will suffice. I would list both prescription and over-the-counter medications.
- Medical Visit. Keep a list of all of your medical visits whether they are doctors, nurse practitioners, chiropractors, physical therapists, mental health counselors, or massage therapists, etc. You should also keep track of all phone calls made to the doctor or the doctor’s nurse.
- Bills Paid. Here, I recommend showing what bills were paid, or turned over to insurance for payment, and the date. This is also a good location to keep track of your co-pays made on larger medical bills.
For your convenience, we've provided a printable injury victim diary you can use to document your condition.