Not all personal injury cases are resolved successfully. Whether an unsatisfactory result is caused by poor or inexperienced legal representation, erroneous details, or difficult and challenging cases, victims can find themselves facing concerns over covering the full scope of their damages, including all of the medical expenses they incurred to treat their injuries. In some cases, a losing result may mean victims receive no compensation at all.
At Clark, Fountain, La Vista, Prather & Littky-Rubin, our West Palm Beach personal injury attorneys are committed to helping seriously injured victims protect their rights and pursue the best resolution possible. Unfortunately, having worked with clients throughout the state, we know not every case is handled competently by other law firms, and sometimes victims are left with outcomes that don’t meet their expectations or financial needs. While there are legal options to appeal a personal injury case, whether or not this option is available to you – as well as whether it is feasible or in your best interest to appeal – will depend on the unique facts involved.
To help you understand if you are able to appeal your personal injury case, you must first determine how your case was resolved:
- Settlement – Out-of-court settlements, reached prior to the trial phase, are the most common resolution for personal injury cases. Once a settlement is reached between a victim and the defendant (or their insurance provider), cases are concluded, and there are typically terms included in the settlement that bar a consenting victim from pursuing any additional claims in connection to the incident against the defendant. For this reason, victims are generally NOT able to seek an appeal of any settlement reached in their case. This is why it is crucial to work with lawyers early on who can leverage their experience to help you understand your options, an appropriate time to settle, and negotiate effectively for the full amount of compensation you deserve.
- Litigation – There are some personal injury cases that do proceed to the trial phase aka litigation. Litigation occurs when insurance companies choose to dispute fault or liability, or fail to offer victims a fair settlement. When cases are litigated at trial, they are resolved through a verdict reached by a jury, or a judgement entered by a judge. Under certain circumstances, victims may have the option to appeal a decision reached in their trial.
To appeal a verdict or judgment reached in your trial – including outcomes where a defendant was found not liable, or where you were awarded less compensation than you believe you were entitled to – you must provide a valid reason. For example, a reversible error or mistake involving critical facts that impacted the outcome of a case. In some cases, there may also be an option for a new trial through a post-judgment motion.
Appeals are not automatic, and they can be a lengthy and time-consuming matter, which means that it could take months if not years to have an original decision reversed, or have a case sent back for further proceedings. Should a case be dismissed on appeal, it can also be costly and frustrating for victims who must now cover their legal costs, rather than paying an attorney through a percentage of their recovery. These are some of the reasons why it becomes crucial to consider whether or not you have a valid basis to pursue an appeal – and why you should consider working with a new lawyer who can review your case, evaluate its legitimacy and inherent risks.
Appeals are by no means an easy endeavor, and they demand the attention of proven attorneys who understand the unique rules and procedures involved, and how to effectively structure arguments to produce results. Partner and board certified attorneys, Julie H. Littky-Rubin has earned numerous legal awards in the area of appellate law. She is frequently hired by firms and attorneys across the state to assist them with their appellate and trial support matters. Her insight and expertise in handling civil appeals positions our firm to tackle even the toughest of appeals.
Securing a positive outcome in any personal injury case begins with selecting the right legal team. If you have recently obtained a result you were not satisfied with and wish to discuss whether you have a valid basis to file an appeal, contact our firm for a free case evaluation.