AppealIn the world of personal injury law, most trials don’t end with both parties feeling satisfied with the outcome. There might be situations where either the claimant or the respondent feels the need to challenge the decision made by the judge or jury. That’s where an appeal would come into play.

What Is an Appeal?

An appeal is a formal request to review the decision made in a legal case, such as a personal injury case, after a trial has concluded. Both the claimant (the person suing for damages) and respondent (the party accused of causing the injury) can file an appeal if they feel the trial’s outcome was unjust or incorrect.

The purpose of an appeal is not necessarily to re-try the case but rather to review the proceedings for potential legal errors that could have influenced the trial’s outcome. Appealing a decision can be a complicated and lengthy process, but it can ultimately lead to a more favorable result for those involved.

There’s Always One Right of Appeal

In personal injury cases, both parties have one right to appeal. If either party believes the verdict was unfair, they can request an appeal to a higher court. However, it’s crucial to understand that an appeal is usually not a chance at a do-over.

Appellate courts generally focus on determining whether any errors in law or procedure occurred during the initial trial rather than arguing over new evidence or reconsidering facts.

In essence, it means that you can’t push for an appeal just because you’re unhappy with the initial verdict. You need to have a valid legal ground to appeal, such as errors made by the judge, incorrect admission of evidence, or an incorrect application of the law.

Appealable Issues

The first step to understanding personal injury appeals is recognizing the specific issues within a case that can be appealed. It’s essential to note that not all aspects of your case are eligible for appeal.

Issues of Credibility Are NOT Appealable

During an appeal, issues of credibility are not considered. The appellate court relies solely on the written record of the trial and defers to the lower court’s judgment on credibility-related matters.

Legal Decisions

Legal decisions made by a judge throughout your case can be the basis of an appeal.

Examples include:

  • Introduction of evidence: If a judge improperly allows or disallows certain evidence, this may be grounds for appeal.
  • Denial of requests: Examples include denying a motion to dismiss, which can be appealed.
  • Improper granting of summary judgment: If a judge grants a motion for summary judgment that ignores the existence of a genuine dispute of material fact, it may be appealed.

Your lawyer can help you determine if there are any appealable issues in your case.

Preserving an Issue for Appeal

minner vines injury lawyersAnother critical aspect of personal injury appeals is knowing how to preserve an issue for appeal. If you believe that an error has occurred during your case, there are specific steps that must be followed.

For example, to preserve an issue for appeal, it usually must be objected to during the trial. By doing so, your personal injury lawyer provides the trial judge with an opportunity to correct the mistake, potentially avoiding the need for an appeal.

Failure to follow proper steps may result in an appellate court considering the issue waived, even if the issue had merit.

Appeals: The Written Brief

The first step in any appeal is the preparation of an organized, persuasive, and well-researched written brief. This document presents the appellant’s argument, detailing the facts of the case and highlighting any legal violations that occurred during the initial trial.

The Appellee’s Response Brief

After your lawyer submits the written brief, the appellee (the party that won the original decision) will have the opportunity to respond. They will present their own written brief that addresses the issues raised by the appellant and defends the original judgment.

This response is crucial in understanding the strengths and weaknesses of your appeal, as it sheds light on how the appellee views your arguments. That understanding can assist you in refining your strategy and tactics to bolster your case further.

Oral Arguments

In some cases, after reviewing the submitted written briefs, the court may invite both parties to present oral arguments before a panel of judges. In this hearing, both sides usually have no more than 15 minutes each to persuasively flesh out their case.

Oral arguments provide an invaluable opportunity for your lawyer to clarify points made in your written brief, directly engage with the judges, and respond to their questions and concerns.

Contact a Lexington Personal Injury Attorney for Help With Your Appeal

It’s important to remain patient and informed during the appeal process. Regular communication with your attorney about the status of your case can help ease anxiety and ensure that you’re prepared for any developments that may arise. If you need help with an appeal, our experienced Lexington personal injury lawyers at Minner Vines Injury Lawyers, PLLC are here for you. Contact us today at (859) 550-2900 to schedule a free consultation.