Can I Appeal a Personal Injury Judgement?

If you or somebody you care about has sustained an injury caused by the actions of another individual, business, or entity, you may be able to recover compensation for your injury expenses and other losses. However, securing this compensation can be challenging, particularly if the claim has to go all the way to a jury trial. If you are unhappy with the ruling, you can appeal a jury verdict, but you need to understand that the appeals process is challenging, and you should have an attorney who understands personal injury claim appeals by your side.

Who can Appeal a Personal Injury Verdict in California?

It is important to point out that both the plaintiff (the injury victim) and the defendant (the alleged at-fault party) can appeal a verdict in a personal injury case. If a jury verdict finds that the defendant caused the plaintiff’s injuries and awards them compensation, then the defendant can appeal the verdict. However, if the jury determines that the defendant did not cause the injury and should not have to pay compensation to the injury victim, then the plaintiff can also file an appeal.

An important factor to keep in mind here is that no amount of compensation awarded will be paid until all appeals have been exhausted.

Why Would you Need to Appeal a Personal Injury Verdict?

Even though both the plaintiff and the defendant have the right to appeal, they need to consider the reason they want to appeal. We need every person reading this to understand that appeals in civil cases are based on issues of law, not issues of fact. In other words, being unhappy about the jury verdict is not sufficient reason enough to file an appeal. Whichever side does appeal a jury verdict must make their appeal based on an error of law committed during their case that was prejudicial against them.

An appeal of a personal injury jury verdict is not a “do-over” of the case. The appellate court in California will consider the records from the original trial and determine whether or not the jury verdict should be reversed or possibly remanded to the lower court for further action.

While there are countless “errors of law” that could justify an appeal, we want to cover a few of the most common reason that cases are appealed in this state:

  • A court decided to deny the testimony of an expert witness because the witness was not believed to be an “expert,” but actually was.
  • The judge denied evidence that should have been admitted into the trial.
  • The jury received instructions from the judge pertaining to laws that did not apply to the case.
  • The judge explained laws to the jury in a biased manner.
  • There was some type of jury misconduct, including discussing the case with individuals not on the jury, conducting their own independent investigation, concealing personal information that could influence their decision, etc.
  • There was a lack of evidence to justify the jury verdict.
  • The jury verdict is against the law.

What are the Possible Outcomes of a Personal Injury Appeal?

If a court does decide to grant an appeal, there are various potential outcomes. The appellate court could revise the original jury’s verdict pertaining to damages, vacate the jury verdict entirely, or send the case back to the lower court for a new trial.

Appealing a personal injury case can be time-consuming and expensive. We strongly suggest that you work with a skilled Orange County personal injury lawyer before making decisions about whether or not to pursue your claim farther than the original jury verdict.