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Can I Appeal a Personal Injury Court Decision?

You went to trial because you offer was made on your accident claim, or you went to trial because the offer was not good enough. The jury's verdict was against you, making it seem like a complete waste. But if you've followed U.S. Courts before, you know there is a little something called the appeals court. It's not just for criminal law issues. The appeals court is open to other subjects, including personal injury.

You Can Appeal

Again, you do have a legal right to appeal. If you feel the judge and/or jury acted in error, if new evidence comes in, if you feel the law was not properly followed, you quite often have a case.

Should you appeal?

Now that you know you can appeal personal injury law verdicts, you may want to know if it's worth appealing. This gets complicated from state to state. For example, some states allow juries to make decisions without a unanimous vote, while others require a unanimous vote for the trial to be upheld. In other cases, the judge can make the decision, or if the jury fails to reach a verdict, throw the case out. It does get complicated, which makes your choice of lawyer quite important. In order to go to appeals court, you need a legitimate claim and an experienced personal injury lawyer. That's far from easy, but with it you have your best chance.

The Differences Between a Trial and Appeal Court

Trial Court
A trial is what comes initially, where you, your lawyer, and the defense argue using evidence regarding the personal injury in front of a judge and jury. All evidence is presented, witnesses and experts from both sides are called, closing arguments are given, then the jury goes into deliberation and usually comes out with a verdict.

Appeal Court
It's very different in appeals court. You will still be arguing your case, but you have to prove it on the facts or any new evidence which was not present before. There will be no witnesses, no experts, no opening and closing arguments. The rule of appeals court is to look over in detail everything which was presented at the initial trial. In short, the court will review all evidence and testimony already recorded.

Appellate Briefs

This brief is where the lawyers of plaintiff and defense earn their money. You as plaintiff and your lawyer will make it clear the trial judge or jury did not act in accordance with the law. Something was not followed correctly, and when it comes to law, that's often all it takes. The defense will do the opposite: their job is to prove the trial followed all laws and the verdict was correct.

As you can see, these things can get complicated. However, this is a good start in understanding the appeals process. It is your right to hire a personal injury lawyer, file a suit with the court, and if you fail, to appeal the verdict in a court of law.