The first step following a personal injury of any kind is to start keeping a written record of what happened. As soon as the trauma of the moment has passed, it is advisable to write down everything that you remember about it. This record should be continued until the claim is completed. A written record is far more reliable than your memory and will become more and more valuable if the claims process is extended. There are two issues that are at stake:
- What is the basis of the claim? That is, what caused it to happen?
- What injury and/or damages resulted?
These questions should be kept in mind as you are writing because they will be the most relevant to personal injury attorneys, insurance companies, medical professionals, the court, etc. The first thing that should be written down is the exact details of the personal injury itself. These should include all you remember about:
- The circumstances immediately preceding and following the incident
- Time and place
- All persons present
- The details of the incident itself
- Anything you felt
- Anything else you think may be relevant
You should also attempt to capture the extent to which you were injured. These details should extend beyond the time of the incident and include:
- Physical and mental harm
- Treatment received (on the scene and in the weeks and months following)
- Effects of the injury on all aspects of your life (work, home, social etc)
- Any effect the injury had on your life, particularly areas of economic loss (time missed from work, vacations cancelled, etc).
It is advisable to continue writing throughout the claims process. Even minor personal injuries have a surprisingly large effect on daily life. The more detailed your writing, the greater likelihood of a favorable result in your personal injury claim.