In a personal injury lawsuit, a pre-trial hearing may sometimes be needed in order to resolve certain issues before trial. Pre-trial hearings allow the parties to agree upon certain facts and issues so that they don’t have to use time during the actual trial in order to address them. Pretrial hearings may revolve around issues like:
- Filing and obtaining pre-trial motions
- Settling on undisputed facts
- Presenting offers for settlements
- Agreeing to or denying various accusations or claims
- Various other topics
Thus, pre-trial hearings can often be very helpful for both parties during the process. Some jurisdictions refer to pretrial hearings as "pre-trial conferences". Other regions use the term "pre-trial conference" to refer only to the initial pretrial meeting between the parties.
A pretrial meeting can be called for various reasons, including:
- Clarifying procedural matters
- Requesting evidence
- Attempting to have evidence excluded during the upcoming trial
- Resolving issues from a previous pretrial hearing
Thus, multiple pretrial hearings may occur before trial. This is especially true if there are many legal issues that might affect the personal injury trial. For instance, this is often the case if there are many issues regarding the insurance policies of each party.
If an issue isn’t resolved during a pretrial hearing, it is common for the judge to call another pretrial meeting before the case begins. For instance, if the parties are close to settling before trial, the parties may be able to resolve their settlement figures through another meeting. This would be desirable, as it would help them to avoid the expenses of a full trial.
If a resolution is not possible, they will likely have to proceed with trial and resolve the issues during the actual proceedings.
Personal injury claims often require the assistance of a qualified attorney. You may wish to hire a lawyer early on, so that you have legal representation during pretrial hearings and other meetings. Every state has different procedural rules when it comes to pretrial hearings. A qualified personal injury lawyer can explain how to approach these important meetings, and can help you prepare for your trial.