Tips for Recalling the Details of Your Accident/Injuries

remembering the details of our accident

When you are involved in an automobile accident, your adrenaline is running, and everything seems to be happening too fast.  Your brain goes into a fight or flight mode and is focused on surviving, not remembering. At the accident scene, it is normal for you not to remember everything that happened. However, it is very important to be able to recall the details of the accident, as well as the details of your pain, inconvenience, effects on your life to strengthen your claim and be fairly compensated for the accident and your injuries.

It is important to remember the events that took place before, during, and after the accident, so that an accurate account is recorded. You should document where you were going, what were the weather conditions, the time, was it daylight or dusk? Also, who was with you?  While this may seem like a daunting task in the aftermath of an accident when emotions are high much of the initial documentation can be handled with tools found on your cell phone. Your camera can be used to record license plates, driver’s license, pictures of both vehicles, and insurance cards. You should take pictures of the vehicle you were in and the other vehicle, if possible, to show the extent of the impact, as they say, a picture is worth a thousand words.
The degree of the impact is considered heavily by insurance adjusters and without documentation they will likely evaluate the impact as low as they can. Many times, the police accident report will note the accident was minor, when, in fact, it was not. Of course, documenting the early stages of the accident with pictures and video will be difficult if not impossible to do if you are injured. However, you must record your memories of the accident as soon after the accident as you are able. One idea is to have a friend or relative record your thoughts and have them ask questions, during this, to prompt your mind to remember things. This will be beneficial if there is a question of liability. This will be important to pinpoint how you were injured, such as, did your shoulder hit the door, did your knee hit the dash? Did any part of your body twist or jerk? Most of us don’t recall every detail immediately, there is just too much going on. Your physician will need to know this information to properly care for you.

For accuracy when you can, it is a good idea to sit down and write down everything that you recall instead of relying on your memory. You may want to return to the scene of the accident to help refresh your memory. Taking pictures of the scene of the accident can both refresh your memory, and in case of a liability question, preserve the accident scene because sometimes the roadway changes before settlement begins. You should consider diagramming the accident, to show the place in the road the accident occurred and the points of impact. You might consider talking to witnesses if there is something unclear in your memory. The police officer that came to the accident may remember something that was said by the other driver or an important witness. There may be other facts that come to you even later, and you should document those facts, as well. Keep in mind that after an accident, sometimes the other party tries to find excuses for what happened and may even shift the blame. If you have your documentation, this will protect you, if this happens.

Enjuris post-accident report

Documenting facts after your car accident

During your healing process, you should document every pain, the severity of pain, what exacerbates the pain, and what eases the pain. You will need to be able to convey this to your doctor, your attorney, and the insurance adjuster, and if the case does not settle and goes to trial, the judge and or jury will also need to hear this.


Emotional trauma after a crash

Emotional trauma after a crash

Injuries from an accident are not always physical. What is often overlooked is an increased risk for psychological trauma such as post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

It is difficult to put a monetary value on an injury unless you can understand the details about it. Every time, you try to do something, and cannot do it because of the pain, you should document this. Day to day complications are easy to forget unless you document them. Every time you are unable to do something you enjoy, document that. Did you miss a holiday, vacation, attending an event? These are important. Were you unable to do housework, take care of your child? Is riding in a car for long distances painful? Were you signed up for a class or hobby and now must cancel that? Have documentation about missed vacations, and classes, etcetera from the facilities involved. Again, it is important to be able to express this information, so that other people can try to put themselves in your shoes to understand what you are going through. You should share your diary with your medical professionals so that this is established in your medical records. Information in your medical records will bear more weight with the insurance adjuster. Your diary may also help the medical professional understand why one part of your body has started being painful when initially you did not feel pain in this area, but it is accident related.

There are different levels of severity in injuries. A sprained back can be anywhere from a minor sprain to a debilitating injury. Doctors can diagnose your injury, but different people have different reactions to the same injury.  Let your doctor know how the injury is affecting your life.  They will ask you to rate your pain on a scale of 1-10, give them an accurate rating. Do not exaggerate. To give them an accurate rating, you should understand what the ratings indicate.

0-10 Scale of pain severity
Description of experience
Unspeakable pain
Bedridden and possibly delirious. Very few people will ever experience this level of pain.
Excruciating pain
Unable to converse. Crying out and/or moaning uncontrollably.
Intense pain
Physical activity is severely limited. Conversing requires great effort.
Interferes with sleep
Severe pain that dominates your senses and significantly limits your ability to perform normal daily activities or maintain social relationships.
Difficulty concentrating
Moderately strong pain that interferes with normal daily activities.
Moderately strong pain
It can’t be ignored for more than a few minutes, but with the effort, you still can manage to work or participate in some social activities.
Moderate pain
If you are deeply involved in an activity, it can be ignored for a period of time but is still distracting.
Noticeable pain
Pain is noticeable and distracting, however, you can get used to it and adapt.
Minor pain
Annoying and may have occasional stronger twinges.
Mild pain
Pain is very mild, barely noticeable.
There is no pain.

Chances are that your pain level will change depending on what you are doing- such as sitting too long or standing too long. That is why it is important to keep a diary so that you can tell the doctor all the nuances of your pain levels. This information will help the doctor to treat you properly and will also document it for the insurance company.

It is a good idea to take pictures of any visible injuries, take pictures of the initial injury, and photograph the healing process, with the dates on the pictures. If there are any scars, take pictures during the healing process. Also, if you must use any type of healing aid, such as crutches, braces, etc., you should take photographs of them. These pictures should help explain what you had to go through because of the accident.

It is important to document your feelings, are you feeling depressed, is your sleep disturbed, are you feeling anxious?  Have your emotions affected your relationship with others? If your relationship with others has been affected, have them document this information in a diary, as well. The injuries that you have that are not visible are also compensable. If you don’t document them at the time, you may forget to mention them later.

You should document any loss of income that you may have.  Were you anticipating a raise or promotion that you missed out on because of your injury? Did you have to use your vacation days for your absence due to your injuries? Did you miss out on a bonus or overtime because of the accident? Make sure your doctors and the human resources department are aware of how the accident has affected your work relationship. This information is very important to document at the time because the actual settlement may happen much later and could be forgotten at the time of settlement.

How much is a broken bone injury worth in an auto accident case?

People often wonder how much suffering from a broken bone is worth, but it can be difficult to calculate an exact amount. Every case has unique circumstances that must be considered, and injuries aren’t always obvious at the outset of a personal injury claim.

For example, the body part that was injured and the long-term impairments, the length of time for recovery, and the type of treatment received can all affect the amount of a settlement.

Scholle Law has the experienced staff to help anyone through the claims process. This will allow you to focus on recovering from your injuries with the knowledge and comfort that you will receive full compensation for pain and suffering.

Keep in mind that your diary may be read by the insurance company, and a judge or jury, if the case goes to trial.  Therefore, you will need to be accurate and professional in your writings.  You are telling the story and drawing a picture of your accident, your injuries, and how the accident has affected your life over a period of time.  Please discuss your diary and your thoughts with our firm, so that we can guide you to properly document your information.