Can I Appeal a Personal Injury Judgment?

If a claimant feels that the outcome of their personal injury verdict is unjust, then they have the right to appeal the matter in a higher court. You’ll need to be ready to convince the appeals judge of the reasons why the law wasn’t used correctly the first time around. If you succeed in convincing the appeals judge, you’ll have successfully won the appeal.

Given that most personal injury claims are settled during litigation, personal injury appeals are rare occurrences. A personal injury lawyer in the Bronx can help you win your appeal; by working closely with professionals like them, you’ll be in the position to have your appeal received with integrity and honored to the highest standards of the court.

Personal Injury Appeals: An Overview

There are times when a verdict is seen as a miscarriage of justice or simply wrong. While our legal system has many advantages, it is far from perfect, and mistakes happen. Thankfully the legal system does include a network of Appeals courts. These courts allow our legal system to fix mistakes that can happen during the trial period.

Appeals are the stuff of bleak legal circumstances. At all costs, claimants and their attorneys should seek to avoid the need to file for an appeal.  Most appeals do not succeed, thus they should be avoided. They are the legal longshots. In the case of a personal injury claim, it’s better to avoid trial through litigation and subsequent settlement agreements.

When to Appeal

So, the trial is over, and the verdict isn’t in your favor. Now it’s time to consider filing for an appeal. There are two instances when proceeding with an appeal is the right thing to do:

  • When you can afford it
  • When not doing so will cause you great harm

Most scenarios like these are “nothing to lose” circumstances. Thus, filing for an appeal cannot hurt and should be done promptly according to legal protocols.

Strictly speaking, for personal injury appeals, the best reason to push for an appeal is that it gives your lawyers another chance to negotiate. If the verdict included a weak settlement, you could use an appeal to apply some pressure to the defense, which may result in a better settlement offer. This is how appeals can be used strategically in your favor.

Time Limits

Usually, you have between 30 and 60 days to file an appeal. For this reason, it’s best to file for an appeal as soon as a verdict comes out. Some lawyers have even been known to have appeal paperwork ready in advance before a trial verdict has come out.

Confirmation From Consultation

The decision to appeal comes after consulting with at least one reputable legal expert on the judgment. The attorney will then review the verdict and the case details to decide how an appeal is possible. If the attorney sees that the appeal has legs to stand on, then the process for filing the appeal can begin. Things can then move on to the next phase.

Regarding Representation

It is essential to keep in mind that appeals can be brought to the court using the same lawyer from your trial or a different lawyer. The decision to do either depends on the verdict’s details and the appeal.  It could also be the case that your attorney from the previous trial has a good relationship with the judge who will hear the appeal.

Generally speaking, if you had a trial lawyer with a good reputation who couldn’t secure a favorable verdict, you have a better chance of winning your appeal with an attorney that specializes in that area. It could even be the case that your lawyer refers you to another attorney who is an excellent appeals lawyer.

How to Appeal

After consultation with legal experts, a motion to appeal will be filed and presented to the court. The defense will file a motion to dismiss the appeal. The court must acknowledge the defense’s motion. Your attorney is then granted the opportunity to argue why the verdict against you was erroneous or unfair. The judge hears the appeal and has the final say.

Grounds for Appeal

Grounds for appeal are reasons why a case deserves a second look. They are the conflicts that your lawyer will say determine the verdict against you to be unfair or erroneous. Without sufficient grounds, an appeal cannot survive for very long before it is defeated.

It’s best to have multiple grounds for appeal. An appeal with only one conflict is too easy to defeat. Multiple grounds for an appeal also give multiple ways to win. Attorneys usually present between three and five grounds for appeal. In this way, things happen on a case-by-case basis.

Many different grounds for appeal can be brought to court. It depends on the details of the case and the verdict. Here are some of the reasons known to be part of personal injury appeals:

  • Misconduct on the part of the jury
  • Jurors were unqualified to serve on the jury
  • The prosecution somehow violated your rights
  • Evidence used against you was supposed to be inadmissible
  • The judge in the previous trial made an error
  • Evidence that would’ve helped you wasn’t allowed during the trial

What to Expect

Proceedings won’t look like they did in the trial. In the appellate court, your lawyer will make the case to the judge as to why they should overturn the last verdict. The judge is there to hear the case made by your attorney, and to decide if the verdict was unjust. If the judge agrees with your attorney and decides to overturn the verdict, your appeal has succeeded.

Something to keep in mind is that negotiations can continue during the appeals process. If things are going well with your appeal and the defense takes note, they’ll be keen to entertain a deal to keep from losing the appeal. Generally speaking, lawyers want to avoid a reputation for being ruled against in court. So if negotiations open up again, it’s usually in your favor.

How an Attorney Can Help

This is work reserved for knowledgeable legal professionals. With the right attorney, the verdict against you can become a verdict in your favor, but without one it’spractically impossible that your appeal will succeed. The guidance of legal professionals is there to help you regain normality in your life as quickly and seamlessly as possible.

Engaging in the appeals process without a lawyer is plain inadvisable. Winning an appeal is already hard enough with a lawyer. Most appeals don’t succeed because most judges will rule in favor of upholding the previous court’s decision. The tendency of judges to uphold previous verdicts is rooted in their agency as loyalists to the law.

Many details go into filing an appeal, and you will want to let your lawyer handle them personally. It is their business to understand deadlines, legal specifications, document details, and other aspects of the appeal.