Write it down: great advice, but what does it include?

Many of the drivers you share the road with are careless or reckless. You have most likely shaken your head or put an extra lane between you and a driver you saw looking at their cellphone. You probably saw a driver cut another driver off. You probably have seen a few drivers run through red lights.

While you drive safely to avoid an accident, you should know what to do if a bad driver doesn’t take the same care that you do.

It is better to have more detail than less

One of the biggest pieces of advice given to “do this or that after an accident” is to write down the details. Not only do we tend to forget the specific details, but it is also hard recall the information on the spot when your attorney asks.

“Write it all down” is a great piece of advice, but what does it mean? Which details should you include? While an attorney can help gather much of the information, you want to write down everything you remember from the day of to the days after.

Here are a few things to get you thinking:

  • Insurance information: Company names, agent names, policy numbers, contact phone numbers.
  • Conditions of the day: Was it sunny, raining, windy, snowing? Was it day, night, dusk or dawn? Was the moon out?
  • Conditions on the road: Were the roads busy? Was there construction? Were there any signs posted? What was the speed limit? Were you at an intersection? Were there other cars or people around and, where were they?
  • Medical treatment: What were the names of the paramedics, doctors and nurses? Which hospital? What types of injuries or did you discuss? What types of treatment or medication did you discuss? Did the doctor warn you of any potential complications, risks or side effects (current or future)?
  • Physical injuries: Which injuries did you suffer? What were your pain levels at the time of the injury? What were they during/after treatment, daily or during specific activities? Did your injuries change your ability to do certain work or leisure activities? Did they change how you interact with your children?
  • Emotional injuries: How have you responded to the accident or injuries? Have your sleep patterns changed? Do you cry more often? Do you struggle to get out of bed? Do you feel less intimate with your spouse? What frustrates you each day?
  • Financial injuries: Write down or keep copies all medical costs, including prescriptions, but go beyond those. Will you have to replace your vehicle? Did you have to hire extra help to care for your family or your home? What is your salary? Were you unable to work overtime? Are you taking public transportation or using ride share services to get around?

Every little detail could matter, so don’t worry about whether you are writing down too much. Go buy a journal or a notebook. Keep it by your side so that you can jot down anything you might remember about the accident itself or the impact it has had on your life.

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