Whether or not you decide to represent yourself or hire a lawyer, one thing remains the same: Preserve all your evidence. What exactly does this mean? Take photographs of your physical injuries because your bruise or laceration or black eye won’t be there in a few weeks or months, and you will need to prove that you suffered that injury. The photographs will help an insurance adjuster, mediator or jury understand your claim. Are you in a cast? Photograph that, too. Admitted to the hospital? Ask a friend or family member to photograph you there, too.
Same thing for your bike: Take close-up photos showing the damage from different angles. If you have some photos showing what your bike looked like prior to the crash, keep those as well, so you can prove that any damage was caused by the collision. Was your bike helmet scuffed or cracked or your clothing ripped? Photograph it all. Receipts from your bike purchase and repair estimates? Hang on to those, as well.
Medical bills are also evidence that will help prove your damages. Your medical expenses are recoverable damages even if you have health insurance (more on this later). Your W-2s or 1099s from before and after the crash can also be used to prove lost wages or lost earning capacity (more on this later, as well.)
Get the police and ambulance reports as soon as they become available. This may take some time and persistence, but these reports are important to your case, and the police report may have the names and phone numbers of witnesses to the collision.
If you are conscious (hopefully) at the scene of the crash, prioritize your safety and getting medical attention. After that has been handled, if possible, photograph damage to the motorist’s vehicle, their license plate (this should be in the police report, but do it, anyway, just in case), and their driver’s license and insurance card if they will allow it.
It can be helpful to keep all this information in a folder – and not just an online folder. Print your photos, too, and put everything into a hard copy folder – so you have it all in one place when it comes time to make your claim. If you decide to meet with a lawyer, having all this information in one place will help that lawyer understand exactly what happened to you.
Finally, refer to the checklist at the end of this article for a list of the types of evidence you should collect to prove your claim.