Knowing what to expect at a pretrial conference can help make a personal injury lawsuit run more efficiently. Some trials require a pretrial conference between the judge, the attorneys, and the various parties involved. These are held to help clarify certain legal matters before trial begins. The pretrial conference often helps to eliminate unnecessary issues being raised later on during trial.
Pretrial conferences may also give the parties a chance to file and discuss pretrial motions and various other procedural matters. Thus, you should expect to undergo a basic overview of some of the legal issues that might be important in the upcoming trial
What Specific Types of Issues Are Discussed During a Pretrial Conference?
In civil pre-trial conferences, the judges and lawyers may get together and:
- Simplify some of the legal issues involved in the trial
- Eliminate any claims or defenses that would be considered frivolous
- Identify documents to be used as evidence
- Identify witnesses (such as bystanders or witnesses to an accident)
- Obtain any admissions of guilt or liability
- Create a timetable for the submission of motions and briefs
- Discuss any possible rulings on motions already submitted
- Determine if there is any possibility of a settlement
Thus, one of the main aims of a pretrial conference is to settle matters that are without dispute, so as to avoid wasting time on unnecessary proofs during trial. In the same way, the discussion of a possible pretrial settlement is also a major factor. If the parties can settle before trial begins, it will save the parties as well as the court much time and money.
What if I Have a Dispute During a Pretrial Conference?
In many cases, pretrial conferences will uncover issues that were not initially a factor. The conference may create some disputes, since the process of presenting legal ideas can start during a conference. If a dispute arises, the parties may: file another motion in response, or they can sometimes request another pretrial conference. If the dispute still can’t be resolved, the issue will have to be resolved when during the course of the trial.
Do I Need a Lawyer During Pretrial Conferences and Hearings?
At the pre-trial conference stage, both parties should be represented by their own lawyers. In fact, a personal injury lawyer should be secured well before pretrial conferences begin. Once a party is represented by a lawyer, the other party usually can only communicate with them through their own lawyer. Thus, you should hire a lawyer if you need legal representation and assistance if you are involved in a personal injury claim.