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Our Bethlehem Accident Attorney Discusses How to Know When to Appeal Your Case

Oct 27, 2021 - Personal Injury

If you have been unfortunate enough to have lost at trial or a motion to dismiss, you may be wondering if you’ve run out of options, especially if you feel strongly that you were in the right. It’s at this point that clients and their attorneys start considering an appeal of the negative decision. An “appeal” is a challenge to a legal decision, directed towards a legal institution higher than the court that made the legal decision. In the federal court system and most states, trial court decisions can be appealed to an “appellate court.”

However, you are not allowed to appeal a court’s decision simply because you are unhappy with it. The trial judge must have made some type of mistake that provides the “ground” for your appeal. Most often, your attorney must have pointed out the ground during the trial by objecting. This is known as “preserving the record.” So, for example, if you’ve seen one of the popular TV legal shows, you’ll notice the attorneys for both sides objecting on a regular basis. Each such objection is the ground for an appeal.

If you have lost at trial or by motion in civil court, let an experienced Bethlehem accident attorney at Drake, Hileman & Davis help you decide if an appeal is a viable option and if so, what the potential grounds might be.

Time is an Issue

Like most types of legal proceedings, there is a time limit for filing an appeal. In Pennsylvania, the deadline is a mere 30 days after the order upon which the appeal is entered.

Determining Whether to Appeal

If the appellate court finds that an error contributed to the trial court’s decision, it will reverse that decision. During the appellate process, the lawyers for the parties submit written briefs to the court and may be granted oral argument. Like most legal issues beyond settlement, the outcome is never assured, even if the trial court made a glaring error. 

Adding to the uncertainty is the fact that glaring errors are rarely made; the majority of appeals concern issues that are at least arguable for both sides, and sometimes even issues that simply have never been litigated before (called issues “of first impression”). To maximize your chances of success, you’ll need the experience of a Bethlehem accident attorney at Drake, Hileman & Davis.

We’ll help you examine each potential trial court error and analyze your chances of success. Most appellate attorneys understand that it’s not about quantity, but quality. There may be dozens of potential errors that could be theoretically argued, but choosing the one or two that have the highest chance of success is usually the best option, strategically. This allows the appellate court to focus its entire attention on your best option(s).

A Bethlehem Accident Attorney Can Help You Decide Whether to Appeal

If your case has been lost at trial or via motion, this doesn’t necessarily mean your options are exhausted. The decision to appeal is likely available, although it may not be your best option. A Bethlehem accident attorney at Drake, Hileman & Davis will help you decide whether filing an appeal is viable to the point where the additional time and costs are justified. Contact us today for your same-day response and free consultation.

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