While most injury cases settle without going to court, a few cases proceed to trial. At the end of the trial, a jury decides the case based on the facts presented at trial and the law as explained to the jury by the judge. If you do not agree with the jury verdict, your California personal injury attorney discusses options with you for appealing the verdict.
Who Can Appeal a Personal Injury Verdict?
Both the plaintiff (the person who filed the lawsuit) and the defendant (the party sued) can appeal a verdict in a personal injury case. Therefore, if the decision favors the defendant, the defendant may also appeal the verdict. If you won the case and the defendant appeals the verdict, the defendant does not pay any money awarded by the jury until all appeals are exhausted.
Why Would You File an Appeal in a Personal Injury Case?
Even though you may have the right to appeal, you may not have a reason to appeal. Civil appeals are based on issues of law instead of issues of fact. An appeal of the verdict in a personal injury lawsuit is based on an error of law committed in your case that was prejudicial to you. Being unhappy about the verdict is not sufficient reason to file an appeal.
An appeal is not meant to be a “do-over” for your case. The appellate court considers the records from the trial to determine whether the verdict should be reversed or remanded to the lower court for further action.
Examples of reasons why parties may file an appeal in a personal injury case include:
- The court’s decision to deny the testimony of an expert witness based on the witness not being an “expert” was incorrect;
- The judge denied evidence that should have been allowed;
- The jury received instructions from the judge regarding laws that did not apply in your case or the judge explained the laws in a biased manner;
- Jury misconduct, such as discussing the case with people not on the jury, conducting an independent investigation, concealing personal information that could influence the juror’s decision, or deciding the case with other jurors before both parties present all their evidence; and,
- Lack of evidence to justify the verdict or the verdict is against the law.
If you lack sufficient reasons for an appeal, the appellate court may deny the appeal without considering any other arguments in your appellate brief.
What Are the Potential Outcomes of a Personal Injury Appeal?
If the court decides to grant the appeal, there are several potential outcomes. The court may revise the jury’s verdict for damages, vacate the verdict entirely, or remand the case to the lower court for a new trial.
Appealing a verdict in a personal injury case can be time-consuming and expensive. The decision to appeal should not be taken lightly. However, you do not have a lot of time to decide whether you want to appeal the decision. Therefore, it is important to discuss the outcome with your attorney and carefully weigh the information your attorney provides to decide whether appealing the decision is in your best interest.
Contact a California Personal Injury Attorney for Advice
An attorney cannot guarantee an outcome in your case. However, an experienced California personal injury attorney can use the skills, resources, and experience gained from years of practice to give you the best chance of receiving a favorable outcome for your injury claim. Contact us today for a free consultation. Protect your legal rights and best interests after an accidental injury.