What is a Pretrial Conference in a Personal Injury Action?

A pretrial conference is part of the legal process in a personal injury action.

It is a meeting with all the lawyers in front of a judge. This judge will not be permitted to be the trial judge if the case goes to court. The litigants may or may not be present at the pretrial. If you are one of the parties to the lawsuit you should discuss with your lawyer whether you should attend.

Before the pretrial conference both sides will file a pretrial conference memo and their expert reports. A pretrial conference memo is a summary of the evidence that will be called at trial.

The judge will read the materials filed and listen to the arguments of the lawyers and then express his or her opinion as to what will be the result after a trial. The pretrial judge will often discuss the risks of each party’s position. This is all done to facilitate settlement of the personal injury action.

Many cases will settle at or after pretrial. It is hard to ignore one judge’s opinion and to hope that another judge will decide differently.