How Can We Help?

Understanding the Appeals Process in Personal Injury Cases: Part I

May 31 2019 | Blog
  • If you lose your personal injury case in the initial trial, you may feel disappointed and frustrated. However, the appeals provision means that not all is lost in the case of an unfavorable judgment. In this two-part article, we will explain what the appeals process entails in Kentucky and Tennessee.

     

    Contrary to common beliefs and pop culture representations, a trial before the court is usually a personal injury lawyer’s last resort to ensure that their client’s legal demands will be met and their grievances rectified.

    The grand majority of personal injury claims settle before a lawsuit is ever filed and, in most cases, such settlement is in the best interest of both parties. This is due to the fact that, in a settlement, both parties share a certain degree of control over the outcome. In a trial, however, the ultimate result often depends on circumstances beyond the control of either of the parties. For example, what looks like an ironclad claim can quickly become undefendable if the judge pronounces certain evidence to be inadmissible. In addition, in the case of a jury trial, bias can sometimes affect how evidence – as well as how the plaintiff and the defendant – are perceived and this introduces an additional element of uncertainty as to the verdict.

    However, despite these apparent shortcomings of the trial process, on the whole, there is no reason to distrust this established legal procedure. Judicial systems around the world have recognized that, at times, human error can get in the way of justice. In response, the judicial system has provided a way to address this problem as well as to redress any potential violations that may occur. This solution is called the appeals process. If you are willing to take your personal injury case all the way to trial, you must also be prepared for the possibility of an appeal. In this two-part article, you will learn what to expect if your initial personal injury lawsuit proves unsuccessful and your lawyer decides you need to file an appeal.

    How an Appeal Differs from the Initial Trial

    In general terms, during the initial trial, the plaintiff – by the means of the attorney who represents them – presents evidence and interviews witnesses in order to prove that his or her injuries were caused by the negligent actions of the defendant. The defendant, in turn, presents their evidence and witnesses in order to refute that claim. The appeal, on the other hand, isn’t simply a retrial of the initial case and therefore, it doesn’t follow the same process.

    For the same reason, an appeal cannot be filed just because one party doesn’t agree with the verdict. Rather, the appealing party must be able to prove that during the initial trial, certain legal or procedural mistakes were made that render the first judgment invalid. For example, the appellant may argue that certain types of misconduct were committed by the judge, jury, or lawyers during the initial trial. Or the appealing party may also claim that the initial judgment was based on insufficient or invalid evidence. In any case, the appellant must be able to prove that such violations have really been committed and that they led to an unfair verdict.

    Stay tuned for the second part of this article in which we will describe the stages a typical appellate procedure consists of in Kentucky and Tennessee.

Blog Sidebar Form

  • FREE CASE EVALUATION

  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.

Request My Free Consultation

  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.