When someone is hurt by another person’s negligent or reckless behavior, they may file a personal injury claim against that person. This can help them recuperate financial losses they may have incurred as a result of the injury, and it can help them get back on their feet — both figuratively and literally — after the incident.
Sometimes, though, a personal injury case doesn’t go the way the victim hoped it would. If this happens to you, you may wonder about the possibility of appealing. An appeal may be a possibility — but it will depend on several different factors that will be unique to your case. Decisions made early on in the case affect the right to appeal and the likelihood of success on appeal.
First, you’ll need to understand how your case was resolved: through a settlement, or through a trial.
Resolution through Settlement
Many personal injury cases settle through out-of-court negotiations between the victim (and/or their attorney) and the at-fault party (and/or their insurance company) before going to trial. After the settlement is reached, there is usually no possibility for appealing the result because all of the terms were laid out in the course of the settlement. This is one of the main reasons it’s so important to have an experienced personal injury lawyer who understands the difference between a good settlement situation and a bad one.
Resolution through Trial
When a settlement cannot be reached, a victim and/or their attorney may decide that it is necessary to go to trial. In this case, the final settlement will be decided by a judge and/or a jury. When a case goes to trial, the victim does have the opportunity to appeal the decision if he or she is not happy with the result.
When an Appeal May Be Filed
If you were the victim of someone’s negligent behavior and you suffered as a result, you deserve a verdict that helps you get your life back on track. If the verdict you received is not sufficient and you wish to appeal, you can do so — but you must have a valid reason. Simply being unsatisfied is not enough.
In order to file a viable appeal, you’ll need to be able to show that there was a reversible mistake(s) that concerned important facts in the case. Often, the success of an appeal depends on decisions made early in the litigation to make sure factual and legal issues are properly presented to the court and preserved for appeal. If you cannot do that, then your appeal has low odds of being successful.
An appeal is a long, tedious, often frustrating process, and it may not ultimately change the verdict. However, your chances of success throughout the entire claim can increase significantly when you choose an experienced personal injury attorney early on in the process.
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