Personal Injury Cases: The Treasured Timeline


When you’re preparing to go to trial, you have a lot of things on your plate.  You’re watching the clock and making sure that your subpoenas are served and your documents are filed on time.  It’s imperative that you remember that time isn’t only a factor in the trial process itself; you should also be keeping a strict timeline of your client’s claim.  If done properly, you can use this evidence in court, and it could serve as an excellent resource.

Here are some key things that you should be keeping track of on a timeline:

  • Visits to the Doctor.  Each time your client has seen a medical professional, the visit needs to be recorded on your timeline.  The documentation should not only include the date of the visit and the treating doctor, but it also needs to include the reason that your client saw them in the first place.
  • Symptoms and Complaints.  As you assess the dates on which the doctors were seen, make sure you also document when the problems began that prompted the medical visits.  Your timeline should include when symptoms showed up (and what those symptoms were).  It’ll help you determine when diagnoses may not have been accurate, particularly when symptoms returned.
  • Prior Claims.  Make sure your timeline includes any prior civil or workers’ compensation claims.  Any good defense attorney will dig around to uncover these claims before the trial, and the last thing that you want to happen is to have prior claims introduced at trial that you aren’t aware of.  Talk to your client and make sure that he or she is prepared to testify about any prior injury insurance claims long before the trial begins.
  • Preparation.  As you create your client’s timeline, make sure that you have all of the documentation on hand to back up your claims.  Each piece of evidence should correspond with a point on the timeline.


You can learn more about the important pretrial preparation tips that will help you become a successful personal injury attorney by signing up to be one of the first to know when we launch our new course, Signup to Settlement: Personal Injury Law Bootcamp.


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In his 20 years of law practice, Al has handled more than 40 jury trials. This experience, combined with a commitment to ethics and integrity, has earned Al an excellent reputation throughout the San Francisco Bay Area legal community. He is the recipient of Martindale-Hubbell‘s “AV” peer rating, which signifies preeminent legal ability and ethical standards, and has been named a Northern California Super Lawyer every year since 2006. In 2009, Al was awarded the prestigious 2009 Civil Justice Award by the San Francisco Trial Lawyers Association, given to attorneys who show integrity, grit, tenacity, ethics, and great advocacy skills, and who contribute to the betterment of consumers and/or injured victims and their families.

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