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Written by AskTheLawyers.com™ on behalf of Kathy McArthur with McArthur Law Firm.
An appeal is a process that allows the plaintiff or victim in a personal injury case to overturn the jury’s original decision. In most cases, an appeal to a higher court must be made within 30 days of the original verdict in order to be reviewed. Although it may seem counterintuitive, you will likely need a different attorney to handle your appeal than the one who handled the original case.
Appeals are unique, and it is important to find a personal injury attorney with experience handling personal injury appeals. Depending on your state, if you believe the erroneous verdict came about due to misconduct in the trial process, you may be eligible to file an entirely new claim; this is a possibility a personal injury appeals attorney can help you sort out.
A personal injury claim is a civil lawsuit filed by an injured party against the party they believe to be liable for their damages. Damages in a personal injury claim may include medical bills, lost wages, pain and suffering, and more. The at-fault party or “defendant” may choose to make a settlement offer, which the injured party or “plaintiff” can accept or reject. If the at-fault party does not make an acceptable settlement offer, the case then goes on to trial where the matter can be decided before a judge and a jury. After being presented with all of the evidence considered to be relevant and legally admissible, the jury will then decide whether or not the defendant can be considered liable for the plaintiff’s damages, and a judge will hand out the verdict.
However, when the plaintiff is given a verdict they believe to be grossly unfair or inaccurate, they can appeal the issue by taking it to a higher court of law. It is important to note here that the lawyer who handled the original case is not legally obligated to handle the appeal as well; in fact, many attorneys do not feel comfortable handling appeals, as they are highly specific. Instead, it might be better to reach out to a personal injury appeals attorney.
This is one of the reasons it is not necessary to have the attorney who handled the original case appeal the verdict. A court of appeals will look for any sign that part of the litigation or trial process may have been conducted in error. If the court does find implications of misconduct, the plaintiff has another chance at a verdict.
Types of misconduct which may make a verdict eligible for appeal include:
Unreasonable verdicts like those which occur when a jury decides based on insufficient evidence.
Errors of law, which may occur when an error is made in the legal proceedings.
A miscarriage of justice which may occur for a variety of reasons.
However, it is important to remember that a verdict cannot be appealed after a settlement offer has been accepted. So if you are uncertain about a settlement or verdict, wait to accept the offer before appealing the issue.
To learn more about personal injury appeals or for help filing, reach out to a personal injury appeals attorney.
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