While lawyers and judges are the ultimate legal experts, of course, I believe that every citizen should take the time to learn a little about law for several reasons. First, it is important to know your rights, and knowing them can come in handy if anyone ever accuses you of a crime you didn't commit or threatens you legally in another other way. Second, learning about your local, state, and federal laws can help you act as a better citizen. When election time comes around, you can then truly understand ever change in law being proposed by a candidate and whether it benefits society or not. I plan to share posts about law topics explained in plain English on my new blog, so you can come back often to sharpen your legal knowledge!
Did you take a personal injury case to court but were denied the compensation you need to fully recover? Can you still find success through an appeal? Here's what you need to know about this often unfamiliar part of the legal process.
What Is an Appeal?
The U.S. legal system is designed to provide opportunities for injustices within its structure to be corrected. One of these tools is an appeal, which is the request for a higher court to reexamine elements of a trial in a lower court.
This is an important distinction, as an appeal is not a retrial of the case. Its goal is to weed out anything which made the trial unfair to one or both sides and correct the matter with tools like a new trial, a change in judgment, or a different amount of compensation.
Why May You Appeal?
Appeals are generally made to bring to light some impropriety in the case's handling. It often takes one of four forms:
Evidence incorrectly disallowed from entering the record
Incorrect jury instructions or legal standards provided by the court
Witnesses incorrectly barred from testifying
Some court-related impropriety, such as misconduct by a jury member
It's clear that these grounds for appeals can vary widely. But they all represent some element that made the jury trial less than a fair day in court for both sides — improper procedures, suppression of evidence, or misbehavior.
Should You Appeal?
An appeal isn't a slam dunk in most cases. It also requires more time and investment in your case. So, should you pursue it?
The answer depends on the specifics of your trial. Start with consulting with a qualified personal injury attorney. They understand the details of trials and how to weigh potential reasons for appeal.
Certainly, if the jury was asleep through your trial or your key expert witness was banned without proper cause, you may have strong chances of gaining at least some relief from a bad judgment. However, if you simply didn't like the verdict, you might be wasting your money seeking a change.
Where Can You Start?
If you've already been through a personal injury trial and lost, the best place to gauge your chances of a successful appeal is by getting a second opinion from an experienced personal injury lawyer in your state. With their impartial expertise and analysis, you can find the right path — whether it includes an appeal or not.
Contact a personal injury lawyer for more information.