Should you keep notes about your lawsuit?

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I was in a deposition the other day and while watching my client answer the questions, I was reminded of a couple of pointers. My client was attempting to testify to the best of her ability, but had a hazy memory of the events. While this is certainly not devastating to the case, it might at a later point bring her credibility into question. At the very least, if the other side has what appears to be a clearer memory or record of the events, it may likely cause the jury to tend to side with their version.

Cases often take a year or more to get to trial. It can be difficult to remember the events clearly, especially when issues of the timing of events or how you felt at a particular time become important. We recommend that as early in the case as you can, sit down and hand write everything you can think of about your case. Start by writing down chronologically what things happened, when they happened and how they hurt or injured you or how they made you feel.

Later, when you are required to recite this in a deposition or at trial, you will be able to prepare and review your notes to help you remember what happened.

The only downside to keeping these type notes is that if they were made by you, on your own, and not at the request of your attorney, then the other side may be able to obtain a copy through discovery. Remember in preparing these notes, only right down what happened and the pain it caused you or how it made you feel at the time. Keep your editorial comments about the events or people involved to a minimum. If you are concerned about the other side seeing these notes, then simply do no keep them. Also, if you start writing these notes, then you should do so frequently so that you will later have an accurate picture of what happened. When you keep notes and fail to record something, it can later be treated by the other side as if it did not happen. So remember, if you start, be diligent!

If you are currently involved in a lawsuit, we recommend you consult with your attorney before undertaking such note keeping.

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