As many plaintiffs in personal injury cases, you may feel overwhelmed by the legal process: after all, like most people you may be unfamiliar with lawsuits and legal terminology.
One thing you might be aware of is that there are different types of legal cases. The most common ones are civil cases, bankruptcy cases, family law cases, and criminal cases.
The category of civil cases includes a wide range of disputes involving individuals and businesses. Some examples include landlord-tenant claims and breach of contract claims. Personal injury lawsuits are also generally classified as civil cases.
What is an Appeal?
The term “appeal” is used in connection with court cases. An appeal is the process for a party in a court case to ask a higher court to review an unfavorable decision. While appeals are available in all types of cases (be it civil, criminal, bankruptcy), it is important to note it is not available in every case and will depend on whether the party has the grounds for an appeal.
Therefore, whether an appeal is available in a particular case is determined on a case-by-case basis. Whether you’re looking to appeal your personal injury case, or you have concerns about another involved party appealing a decision that may affect your settlement, you may be looking to learn more about grounds for appeal in civil cases.
What are Grounds for an Appeal?
Grounds for appealing civil cases may vary by state and will depend on both the law of the state and the applicable rules of the court where the case is pending. Generally speaking, however, the following may be grounds for appealing a final order or judgment in a civil case, including personal injury cases:
- A legal mistake was made
- There was an error in the process and procedures that resulted in the unfavorable decision
- The law as applied violated the party’s constitutional rights
- Newly discovered evidence would result in a different decision
- The factual findings supporting the unfavorable decision were against the weight of the evidence
There are also what are called “interlocutory appeals” which allow a party to appeal decisions made by a court before the final verdict or judgment. The grounds and availability vary greatly between states. A typical interlocutory appeal would be where a court’s order and may be available in situations where the party would suffer substantial expense, damage, or injury if the order is wrong and is not corrected before the case is over.
The Appeals Process
If you have grounds for an appeal in your case, you will present your petition to an appellate court. It is important to note there are deadlines to file an appeal, and missing such deadlines could result in the appeal being denied. The number of days you have to file an appeal depends on the circumstances of your particular case, including the nature of the case, the state in which the case is pending, and whether it is a state or federal court. Deadlines may range anywhere from 30 days to 180 days after the entry of the order or judgment being appealed.
Reality of Personal Injury Lawsuits
Personal injury lawsuits can be unpredictable and time-consuming, but waiting for a civil appeal to be decided can in some ways be even more stressful and frustrating.
Also, many times it is not expected. Attorneys often work on a contingency basis when it comes to personal injury lawsuits, meaning that they only get paid when their clients do, and it is a percentage of the settlement amount.
Therefore, attorneys are typically very selective about the cases they take on and tend to accept the ones that they believe have a high chance of settling relatively quickly. This means that, although no case is ever a sure thing, it is usually expected to settle before a trial takes place. But sometimes the case must go to trial and an appeal results; when it does, the parties need to wait longer for a resolution.
Civil Case Outcome Possibilities
Because both sides of a civil case may possibly appeal a final decision, there are multiple scenarios and outcomes of personal injury cases. Perhaps the case was initially settling in your favor, but the other side has decided to appeal, which has resulted in a significant delay in your settlement.
In other scenarios, a settlement amount agreement may not have been reached: perhaps the other party is refusing to offer a fair settlement, or they may be refusing to offer any kind of settlement at all. Even after the case is brought to trial, which tends to be rare with personal injury cases, a plaintiff may still not receive a fair settlement when a final ruling is made. In this scenario, a plaintiff may be the one filing an appeal if they have the proper grounds for appeal.
How USClaims Can Help During a Civil Case
If you are struggling to handle bills and other expenses while waiting for your claim to finalize, you may want to start looking for an alternative solution. The appeals process can be long and drawn-out, and these mounting expenses may only be getting worse. At USClaims, we help plaintiffs in similar situations through a process known as pre-settlement funding. Also known as a lawsuit advance, this is a solution that can enable you to receive money upfront while waiting for everything to finalize.
Contact USClaims today to learn more about how the pre-settlement funding process works and how our services may be able to help when an appeal is involved. We are happy to answer any questions you may have about the process, and we can also review your specific case with you in further detail to determine if it qualifies for pre-settlement funding services.