Appeal: Legal Definition
An “appeal” is a formal disagreement with the decision of a judge or jury in a personal injury trial. Either party can file an appeal when a judge or jury rules unfavorably in their case. If the claimant–the party who filed the lawsuit–is awarded a settlement that is less than they expected (or no settlement at all), they can appeal the decision. Likewise, if the respondent–the party who is sued in the case–is found liable or is assessed a larger judgment than they feel is appropriate, they can also file an appeal.
There are different levels of appeal, if you are curious about the appeal legal definition. Appeals lead ultimately to the Supreme Court–-though only a tiny fraction of court cases ever end up there. If you appeal your case at one level and still do not get the outcome you believe you deserve, you can take it to the next level–but there is, of course, a time and money expense involved in doing so. A personal injury lawyer can sit down with you and advise you of your options and what to expect from your case.
Appeals in Personal Injury Cases
When you appeal a court decision in Arizona, you do so in a venue known as an intermediate appellate court. This court was established in 1965 and features two divisions–one in Phoenix, which has 16 judges, and the other in Tucson, which has six judges.
When you appeal a case to the intermediate appellate court, a three-judge panel will rule on the appeal. In a civil case, such as a personal injury trial, there is a filing fee to have it heard by the intermediate appellate court; there is no such fee to appeal a criminal court decision.
The intermediate appellate courts in Phoenix and Tucson hear a large volume of personal injury appeals, but they also hear appeals of criminal, the Industrial Commission, and unemployment compensation cases.
The Arizona Supreme Court
If one or both parties are not satisfied with the resolution in the intermediate appellate court, they can appeal to the Arizona Supreme Court, which is the court of last resort.
Appellate judges at both levels must meet a number of requirements. They must be:
- At least 30 years old
- A person of good moral character
- A resident of Arizona
- Licensed to practice law in the state for at least five years
Why File an Appeal
According to the appeal legal definition, the appeals process provides the opportunity for redress to any party of a lawsuit who feels they did not receive a fair outcome. You can think of it as a request that a different judge and a different jury take a second look at the case, possibly considering information or evidence that did not receive enough review the first time.
The worst thing that can happen if you file an appeal is that the outcome of your trial does not change, which is no worse than the outcome of doing nothing. Also, in a personal injury trial, if you use a lawyer who charges on a contingency basis, meaning they do not assess a fee until they recover money for you, then there is no financial risk to filing an appeal. If you do not win your appeal, you will not have to pay the attorney’s fees.
Before you begin the appeals process, you should keep in mind that while a small degree of chance pervades many court decisions, most are not random; the judge and jury arrived at their decision for a reason. Therefore, if you take the same approach to your appeal as you took to the initial trial, presenting the same evidence and making the same arguments, then more often than not, you can expect the same outcome.
A strong appeal often involves new evidence and compelling arguments that, for one reason or another, did not see the light of day in the original trial. A personal injury attorney from Zanes Law can help you put together a persuasive appeal and make a compelling case that the outcome of the original trial was flawed.
Call (866) 499-8989 for a Free Case Evaluation With an Arizona Personal Injury Lawyer From Zanes Law
If you or your loved one has suffered an injury because of another party’s negligence or wrongdoing, you may be eligible for compensation. A personal injury lawyer from Zanes Law will help you file a claim and pursue the responsible party or parties for damages. We offer a free case evaluation and will even travel to you when and where it is convenient. Best of all, we never charge a fee until we recover money for you. You can sign up with us right away in a single phone call, and we will get right to work.
To speak with a member of the Zanes Law team immediately, call us at (866) 499-8989.
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