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How To Appeal a Personal Injury Case in Florida?

Generally, you can appeal a legal issue by filing a brief with the appellate court in your district after the final judgment is made in your case.

An appeal is a complicated process where an attorney files a brief with a higher appellate court to review legal issues that were allegedly decided incorrectly by the trial court. The appellate court can overrule certain trial court decisions, and can even order a new trial.

What is an Appeal?

During a trial, and the related court hearings, a court reporter takes down everything every person in the courtroom states. This includes witness testimony, and objections made by both attorneys, as well as the judge’s responses to any objections. In addition, the trial court keeps copies of all written motions, and all written court opinions. After a trial is completed, and final damages or sentence assigned, the court will instruct the parties on their right to appeal.

In Florida, all parties generally have a right to one appeal. Generally, a party can appeal a judge’s decision if that decision affected the outcome of the case. For example, the plaintiff may find that an excluded piece of evidence caused them to lose their case, even though that piece of evidence should have been entered legally. In this case, the plaintiff may write a brief as to why the judge was wrong to the “court of appeals” sitting above the trial court.

In some cases, the attorney for the party may also have a right to orally argue before the appeals court. The opposing party is permitted to submit opposing briefs and oral arguments. If the trial court is found to have legally erred in a way that affected the outcome of the trial, the higher court may send the case back to be retried or provide other relief.

The actual burden the plaintiffs are required to meet for each legal issue changes depending on what they are suing for and the court they are in. The higher the burden the harder it is for the plaintiffs to prove their case. That is, the higher the burden of proof, the more convincing the plaintiffs must be to win their case.

What is an Appeals Court?

An appeals court is generally made up of numerous judges who work solely for their appeals court. In many cases, the full court is made up of many judges, and each appeal is assigned to a small panel of three judges. The full panel may review the decisions of these mini-panels when they choose to, but most appeals are decided at this smaller level.

Can an Appeals Court Evaluate Non-Legal Issues?

Generally, appeals courts do not evaluate non-legal, or issues “of fact.” In certain extreme situations, courts can evaluate whether there was enough evidence for the trial court or jury to actually come to the findings they did. However, decisions of fact will generally only be reversed if there was no reasonable basis for the court to come to the factual findings they did.

Can an Appeals Court Evaluate All Issues?

The Court of Appeals generally can only evaluate issues that were brought up by attorneys during the trial. When reviewing an issue at the appellate standard, courts are required to follow a certain standard of review.

For certain legal issues courts can review the decision of the trial court at a “de novo” level. This allows the trial court to evaluate issues as if they were first coming before the appellate court. Another level of review includes the “abuse of discretion” standards. For procedural issues where the trial court generally has some discretion, the appellate court can only overrule a decision if the trial court abused that discretion, by choosing to do something obviously improper under the law.

Generally, the farther away a decision is from a fact determination, the more power an appellate court has to review it. The judge in the trial court is the one who actually sees the evidence, while the appellate court judges only read transcripts, so the idea is that the trial court judge is more fit to make fact determinations.

How do Appeals Work in Personal Injury Cases?

Every person has one right to an appeal. In a personal injury case, you may file an appeal of a decision that barred the introduction of certain pieces of evidence that could have affected your case. In other cases, you could appeal a summary judgment decision made against your case. Because judges are fallible, an appeal can make or break your personal injury case.

How Do You File an Appeal?

Generally you file an appeal when the final judgment in your case has been rendered. In your appellate brief, you must note all issues that you wish the appellate court to review. All legal arguments must be presented in this brief.

In certain circumstances, you can file an interlocutory appeal. This is an appeal that is held about a specific circumstance during your case. This generally is an appeal that occurs before a trial about a pre-trial ruling that will seriously affect your case one way or another.

After an appeal is over, you can file an appeal to a higher court. In most circumstances, the higher court is not required to review your case.

Actually writing an appellate brief and filing an appeal is an extremely complicated process, and it is always important to have a lawyer complete the process for you. Bulluck law group has experience winning appeals for clients. Contact us for a free consultation today.

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