Let’s say that you are injured by the negligence of one or more other persons in an accident here in the Fresno area. You might be injured in a traffic crash, by slipping or tripping and falling at a restaurant or a supermarket, or by the use of a defective consumer item. You could be bitten by someone’s dog. You could be injured by a doctor in an incident of medical malpractice. But even before you have an opportunity to consult with an experienced Fresno personal injury attorney, if you are injured by someone else’s negligence, you need to start writing.

That’s right. Even before you speak to an attorney, you need to begin writing about the accident and your injury or injuries. Include everything you can remember about the mishap and everything you know about your condition. Be specific. During the first few days after the accident, write about the impact of your injuries on your everyday life and on your family. The notes you make may become critically important if you decide, after speaking with a personal injury attorney, to file a personal injury claim and to seek reimbursement for your medical expenses and your other accident-related damages.

In fact, after being injured by negligence, make writing a habit. When you put the facts in writing right away, you’ll create evidence that will be far more reliable in the future than your memory alone. When you’ve been severely or catastrophically injured, your future – and especially your medical condition – may hinge on the resolution of your personal injury claim.

With that in mind, you need to write down everything about how the accident happened – what you heard, saw, felt, and everything else that you remember. Everything. Keep a daily diary or journal. You should even include anything you may have heard someone else say about the accident.

HOW CAN YOUR NOTES HELP YOUR LAWYER AND DOCTOR?

From the moment you know that you’ve been injured, start writing each day about your continuing suffering and pain and their impact on your life. After several days, it’s a good idea to go back to the site of the accident to refresh your memory. Putting it all in writing will help you and your lawyer as you negotiate with the insurance company, and your notes might even help your healthcare providers diagnose and treat you.

Of course, after any injury caused by someone else’s carelessness in the greater Fresno area, you should speak at once with an experienced Fresno personal injury attorney to obtain reliable advice and aggressive legal representation. Your attorney will review the details of the case and the evidence, interrogate witnesses, and fight for justice on your behalf, but the work you do even before you speak to an attorney could make all of the difference when you file a personal injury claim.

WHAT SHOULD YOU DO IMMEDIATELY AFTER AN INJURY?

When you are injured by negligence, as soon as you can, write down everything you remember about the accident: what you were doing, where you were or where you were going, the people you were with, the time of day, and even the weather. Write every detail of what you felt, heard, and saw – shocks, twists, blows, noises, screams, and impacts. If you can take photographs of the location – before the accident is “cleaned up” and the scene changes – those pictures can help your memory and possibly even become key evidence in a personal injury case. You cannot take too many photos after an accident.

Each day after that, write about your injury or injuries, and make a note every time you suffer a specific pain or discomfort. If you can’t sleep, eat, or move without pain, write about it with as much specificity and detail as possible. Precise descriptions should be written down immediately so that you’ll have the details weeks or months later if your personal injury claim can’t be negotiated and a courtroom trial becomes necessary. Your notes will be helpful to everyone who’s involved in the case.

“Everyone” even includes your doctor. A minor bump on your head may not seem like much. You might even forget about it if you don’t write it down, but your doctor might examine that head bump – because you wrote about it – and find that it is the first indication of a traumatic brain injury. That’s just one example of how your notes can help. Everything you tell your doctor becomes part of your medical record, and that record is evidence for your personal injury claim.

CAN YOUR NOTES HELP YOU WIN ADDITIONAL COMPENSATION?

You should also keep a record of every expense arising from your injury. Of course, you’ll need to keep and copy receipts such as medical bills, but you’ll also want a record of opportunities you missed because you were injured – classes and other educational opportunities, trips, family gatherings, and anything else of that nature, because you should be compensated for each of these losses. If you have to hire someone to help around the house or to help watch the kids because you’ve been injured, you should also be compensated for that expense.

Keep precise notes about every conversation you have – online, by phone, or in person – regarding your accident and injury. Jot down the time, date, name of the person involved and who that person represents, whether it’s a hospital, insurance company, or if the person was simply an eyewitness. Of course, if you’re in an automobile accident when you’re injured, you must trade insurance information with the other driver, but after any kind of accident with injuries, try to obtain the names and contact information of any eyewitnesses. Your attorney may need to contact those eyewitnesses for testimony or for a statement.

Keep anything you receive in the mail regarding your injury or injuries, and if you correspond by email, make hard copies. Do not accept any settlement or make any statements to an insurance company before consulting with an experienced Fresno personal injury attorney. If you are offered a quick settlement, it will probably be for an amount far less than your case is actually worth. You should let your attorney do all of the negotiating on your behalf. The notes you take will help your attorney effectively fight for the compensation and justice you deserve.