A personal injury case does not necessarily end after the court issues a decision. Appeals can extend personal injury lawsuits.
But what is an appeal? In short, an appeal is a request for a higher court to assess a lower court’s decision.
You could appeal a case if you do not get your desired outcome. This could be a good thing for your case as you have the opportunity to secure a different result.
On the other hand, sometimes, the opposition appeals a judgment. If this happens, you might be frustrated as the appeal prolongs the case.
Though rare, personal injury cases can go to the Texas Supreme Court.
Table of Contents
What Does Appeal Mean?
People dissatisfied with an outcome may appeal to a higher court, which reviews the case and decides whether the lower court’s decision was correct. When you appeal, you request that a higher court review and reconsider a decision made by a lower court.
Appeals do not restart cases or lead to new trials. Instead, appeals focus on reviewing the lower court’s decisions for errors that may have affected the outcome. The higher court examines the original case’s record, including transcripts, exhibits, and other relevant documents.
The Definition of Appeal
The Law Dictionary defines appeal as “The complaint to a superior court of an injustice done or error committed by an inferior one, whose judgment or decision the court above is called upon to correct or reverse.”
In other words, an appeal is a formal request to a higher court to examine the lower court’s decision.
Who Can Appeal After a Personal Injury Verdict?
Regardless of the outcome of the trial, the plaintiff, the person bringing the lawsuit, and the defendant, the person responding to the lawsuit, can appeal a decision in a Texas personal injury case. However, there must be valid grounds for an appeal in either circumstance.
What Are the Reasons for a Personal Injury Appeal?
Not all litigants can appeal decisions successfully. The higher court must decide to review the case.
Reasons that may merit appellate review include the following:
- The judge did not allow evidence that should have been part of the case.
- The evidence did not support the verdict.
- The court made an incorrect decision about an expert witness. For instance, the court prevented a qualified expert from testifying.
- The judge gave the jury incorrect instructions. For example, the judge gave the jury instructions about laws that did not apply to the case.
- Jury misconduct occurred, compromising the verdict. Jury misconduct includes discussing the case with outsiders, conducting independent research, hiding personal information that would affect the decision, or making up their minds before receiving all the evidence.
Individuals must raise certain issues at trials for higher courts to entertain them on appeal. Appellate courts might not consider arguments individuals did not present to the trial court.
What Happens During an Appeal?
During the appeal process, both sides submit written briefs outlining their arguments. They may also be able to present oral arguments before the appellate court.
The appellate court evaluates the arguments and analyzes the legal issues presented. Then it makes a decision.
What Are the Possible Outcomes of an Appeal?
When someone appeals a case, there are several possible outcomes.
First, the higher court has to accept the appeal. If the court finds no appealable issue, it could deny the appeal.
There are three main possibilities once the court decides to hear the appeal:
- The higher court could affirm the lower court’s decision. This means that the result does not change.
- The court could reverse the lower court’s decision. This would change the outcome of the case.
- The higher court could affirm part of the lower court’s decision and reverse another part. In these cases, the court finds that the lower court was only partially wrong. As a result, part of the decision would stay the same while another part would change.
After the decision, you or the other party might appeal again. Though it is rare, personal injury cases can go all the way up to the Texas Supreme Court.
What Is an Appellate Lawyer?
An appellate attorney handles appeals as part (or possibly all) of their practice. In many instances, a personal injury lawyer or lawyer specializing in another field may also handle appeals.
How Many Appellate Courts Are There in Texas?
Texas has 14 courts of appeals of intermediate jurisdiction. Each court of appeals takes cases from a specific geographical region of the state.
Three justices usually hear an appeal unless it is an “en banc” case involving all justices.
The Texas Supreme Court also reviews cases.
Set Up a Free Case Review With a Trusted Fort Worth Personal Injury Lawyer
If you are wondering, “What do appeals mean?” you could benefit from the help of an experienced Fort Worth personal injury attorney.
Located in Fort Worth, Texas, Stephens Law can help you defend your rights during the appellate process. We have over 20 years of experience fighting for personal injury victims and have recovered over $100 million in damages for our clients.