When you have been injured in a car crash, motorcycle accident, dog bite, slip and fall accident, or been the victim of a drunk driving accident, it is vital that you document your accident and injuries. It is important to report your accident and/or obtain a copy of the accident report from the owner of the premises. We need to get the names, addresses, and phone numbers of any and all witnesses. I cannot stress enough the importance of taking photographs, for example, of the defective sidewalk or step; the damage to your car before it is totaled or repaired; the dog that bit you, and of course, your injuries from the accident.
Another excellent type of documentation is to maintain a diary of the following: the hospital and medical treatment you underwent; the type of pain you experience on a daily basis, and what activities bring the pain on or exacerbate your suffering; your inability to perform activities of daily living due to your injuries (and identifying the people who must do these activities instead regarding household chores or maintenance); and how the accident has affected your enjoyment of life. This is instrumental when you must give testimony at a deposition or trial (often months or a couple of years after the events) as to treatment, pain and disability, and the toll the accident has taken on your life. These are the most important elements a jury will consider when deciding how much to award for your damages, so keeping a diary is a very smart way to improve your chances of a successful outcome at trial or a more substantial settlement before trial.