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Timeline of a Typical Personal Injury Case

Car Accident Case Timeline

Below you will find our interactive timeline of a typical car accident injury case. This timeline is written to answer questions about how a car accident case will usually proceed, and will help to answer the following questions:

  • Why do cases settle and not go to trial?
  • When is a lawsuit filed?
  • What do injury law firms do?
  • What can I pursue compensation for?
  • Why would my attorney drop my case after he/she has signed it?
  • What is a demand?
  • What is discovery?
  • Why do expert witnesses need to be hired?
  • What takes place during mediation?

To learn more as you go through the timeline, click on the icon to learn more about the subject. However, every injury case is different, and the information contained here does not necessarily represent the sequence of events that will take place when you establish an attorney-client relationship with Bisnar Chase or with any other attorney. If you want to know if you have a case with Bisnar Chase, please contact us! To view an infographic of this information on mobile, click here.

Injured Victim hires a law firm like Bisnar Chase

Gather and preserve evidence. Send preservation letters to appropriate custodians.

Gather and preserve evidence. Send preservation letters to appropriate custodians. If the case is an auto product case, the vehicle will be transferred to a secure Bisnar Chase storage facility.

Gather accident reports, photographs, and witness statements.

Gather accident reports, photographs, and witness statements.

Property damages resolved. Rental car expenses, loss of use, and other items damaged included.

Property damages resolved. Rental car expenses, loss of use, and other items damaged included.

Constantly taking place:

The following will continue to take place throughout the client's case.

Focusing on Healing:

Were emergency services called or were you hospitalized?



Treatment for Injuries Included:

Select all that apply

  • Hospitalization
  • Surgeries
  • Physical Therapy
  • Medications
  • Specialist Visits
  • Counseling
  • Alternative Medicine


Make sure you document everything about your injuries - Complaints, lost income, expenses, and changes in lifestyle.

Intensive Care Unit: Keep track of the dates of your hospital stay and take pictures of your stay, your injuries, and your recovery process.

Surgery: Document all the details of your surgery - the date, the procedures performed, and doctor's notes of how the procedure went.

Physical Therapy: Keep track of all your visits to the physical therapist and notify your lawyer when you have completed treatment or if your doctor decides you need additional treatment.

Medication: If you are prescribed medication, follow all instructions and document what prescriptions and over-the-counter medications you are taking.

Other Practitioner Visits: If your treatment plan includes visiting a specialist such as a chiropractor, acupuncturist, massage therapist, or counselor, make sure you make a list of every practitioner that treated you, every date you had an appointment, and all of your medical bills.

Client is called at least every 30 days to update them on the status of the case.

Client is called at least every 30 days to update them on the status of the case.

Changes in the law which may affect our client's case are constantly monitored.

Once the initial investigation is completed and medical records are obtained, the attorney must determine if pursuing a demand from the insurance company is worthwhile for our client. If not, the attorney will let the client know as soon as possible.

Discovery Process Begins

Demand Sent Out

Form/Special Interrogatories

Requests for Production of Documents


Independent Medical Examinations

Requests for Admission

When all our evidence has been properly gathered and reviewed, we will send a demand to the insurance company requesting that you are compensated a fair amount for the following damages:

Experts Hired

If injuries occurred due to an auto defect, experts are hired to examine the vehicle, the scene, and the rest of the evidence. Tests will be run on the vehicle and viable theories of liability will be discussed. Medical Experts will also be consulted on the long term effects of a plaintiff's injuries. This is a critical stage of preparing for a trial, and these technical testimonies presented to the jury will help the jury understand what occurred and why the defendants are liable.

More Information Required:

Most of the time, the Insurance company will call Bisnar Chase to discuss the demand letter and learn more about the extent of our client's injuries. After that, they will make an offer.

Offer Made by Insurance:

The sending of the demand opens up negotiations between the attorney and the insurance company. It is likely that the insurance company will respond with a offer lower than that demanded.

Offer Rejected:

If the offer is determined to be too low, Bisnar Chase will reject the offer and make a counter offer.

Offer Accepted:

Once an agreement has been made and the money has been transferred, Bisnar Chase will pay all parties who are owed money from the settlement.

Client Paid

The client is paid and the case is complete.

Arbitration or Mediation Scheduled

In California courts, it is recommended that both parties attend mediation before going to trial in a civil lawsuit. Since trials are expensive for both parties and the government, most cases will settle at or before mediation and avoid going to trial altogether.

Mediation Unsuccessful

If a settlement is not agreed upon, the case will proceed to trial. Depending on how long it took to complete medical treatment and the discovery process, your first trial date might be set more than 18 months after the lawsuit is filed.

Case Goes To Trial

The trial can proceed for anywhere from several days to multiple weeks. No trial is the same.

Mediation Successful, Both Parties Settle

If both parties settle on an amount that the plaintiff is due, the case will not proceed to trial. Bisnar Chase will collect the settlement funds and pay all parties who are owed money from the settlement.

Client Paid

The client is paid and the case is complete.

Trial Verdict

When the trial is finished, the jury gives their verdict. If case had a favorable resolution and all appeals are extinguished, the client is paid and the case is complete.

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Medical Treatment Includes

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The BISNAR CHASE Difference

  • “I was in a serious auto accident when I was in law school. I had to hire a personal injury attorney and had a really bad experience.”

    John Bisnar

    on what made him want to become a personal injury attorney

  • “If you hire Bisnar Chase and we don't recover money for you in your case, you owe us absolutely nothing.”

    Brian Chase

    on whether or not you would owe money if your case was lost

  • “Whatever the philosphy of the management is, is going to be carried through by the employees and it’s going to reflect on the experience the clients have.”

    John Bisnar

    on his philosophy on running a law firm

  • “The insurance companies are going to be investigating that accident the day it happens. You need to have a lawyer on your side the day it happens as well.”

    Brian Chase

    on when you should contact an attorney

  • “The first thing we want to do with our clients is to relieve the stress. Make them feel comfortable. Treat them as an honored guest.”

    John Bisnar

    on how he would define superior client representation

  • “It's hard to answer that question right up front without a thorough analysis. What I can guarantee you is, with the resources of Bisnar Chase we will maximize the value of your case.”

    Brian Chase

    on what your case is worth