When Can You Appeal a Personal Injury Case?

Written by AskTheLawyers.com™ on behalf of Kathy McArthur with McArthur Law Firm.

When Can You Appeal a Personal Injury Case?
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If you feel that a jury’s decision over your personal injury case was unfair, it may be possible to file an appeal. An appeal is a process which allows the plaintiff or victim in a personal injury case to overturn the jury’s decision. In general, an appeal must be made within 30 days of the original judgment to a higher court to review the issue and offer the victim a chance to explain why the verdict is wrong. Depending on your state, it may be possible to make a motion for an entirely new trial if you believe misconduct occurred in the trial process, resulting in the unjust decision. An appeal differs from the original personal injury case in a variety of ways, but perhaps most significantly in the topics evaluated. Rather than evaluating the legitimacy of the injury, the appeal will investigate the original trial itself to see if a miscarriage of justice occurred in reaching the verdict. If you or a loved one feel that your personal injury case was resolved with an unfair verdict, reach out to an appeals attorney to discuss your eligibility to file an appeal. Many attorneys are not obligated to take on an appeal after handling the original personal injury case, so this is an important possibility to discuss with your legal representation. If you want to choose a different attorney to handle the appeal, you are free to do so.

There are a variety of situations in which the victim of a personal injury may be eligible to file an appeal, including the following:

  • Unreasonable verdict: An unreasonable verdict may occur when a jury makes their decision based on insufficient evidence.
  • Error of law: An error of law may occur when there was an error made in the legal proceedings, such as a wrongful admission of evidence or purposeful misdirection of the jury.
  • Miscarriage of justice: A miscarriage of justice may occur for a variety of reason, but commonly includes a situation in which due to legal, procedural, or other errors, the sentence handed down is deemed unlawful and/or unjust.

In most cases, it is not possible to file an appeal after a settlement.

Many personal injury cases are settled out of court. In this situation, typically an insurance company will offer the victim of an injury a certain amount of money to compensate their damages. During the settlement process the victim and their attorney may negotiate for a higher amount, and if the settlement offer is still not acceptable, the case may then go to trial, and if the verdict is unjust, may be appealed. However, after a settlement offer is accepted, in most cases it is impossible to appeal the settlement decision. The inability to appeal a settlement once accepted is one of several reasons why it is extremely important to discuss your situation with legal counsel before accepting an offer. An experienced personal injury attorney may be able to get you a better settlement offer, or if a fair offer is not made, will be able to take the case to court and later make an appeal if necessary and if mutually agreed upon. Most personal injury attorneys offer free consultations and work on contingency, so before accepting a settlement offer or going to court for your personal injury case, reach out to an attorney.

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