Plaintiffs who receive a substantial jury award for a personal injury lawsuit may soon find their victory short-lived when the defendant appeals the judgment instead of paying the award. Appeals are possible after a trial, and unfortunately, an appeal can result in a reduced or overturned award. While the defense can file an appeal based on valid claims of error that occurred at trial, there are many times when the appeal is filed in hopes the plaintiff will settle the case for an amount that is less than the jury award.
An appellate court looks at the issues in a case under a different standard than the jury and seeks to determine whether the jury made the right decision by applying the law to the legal issues in the case. If the appellate court agrees with the jury’s decision, the court can affirm the jury’s award without making any changes to the amount the jury awarded. However, in some cases, the court can find that the jury made the right decision but gave the plaintiff a monetary award that was not supported by the facts or law. This could mean that the appellate court affirms the verdict but reduces the award.
An appeal has to be filed within a certain amount of time after the case in the trial court is over and the verdict is in. The parties are also required to submit written briefs arguing their cases and may be required to argue the cases orally. In some cases, it may be beneficial to hire an attorney who has experience handling appeals, although your trial attorney may be able to handle the appeal and is already familiar with the case. There is no jury on appeal. The case is decided by a panel of judges.
While the appeal is pending, the parties may enter into negotiations in order to settle the case and have the appeal dismissed. These negotiations are similar to the negotiations that happen before trial, however, the plaintiff who has already won a jury award is in a better position to negotiate. While the plaintiff can choose to fight to appeal and hope to get the full jury award, it is risky and time consuming. The decision to negotiate or not has to be made in consultation with an attorney because it depends on the facts of the case and on the trial errors claimed.
Appeals are not limited to the defense. If a plaintiff loses at trial, or gets only part of what he or she wanted, the plaintiff can file an appeal and ask the appellate court to reevaluate the decision.
Contact an Experienced Attorney for More Information
The possibility of an appeal is one factor to be considered when a plaintiff decides to go to trial instead of settling before trial. However, the threat of a prolonged trial and appeal should not discourage a plaintiff with an otherwise valid claim from seeking compensation. For information on how you can seek compensation and the process you will go through after a car accident in Atlanta, Georgia, contact the experienced personal injury attorneys at Jonathan R. Brockman, P.C. today.