Appeals are not appropriate for every legal matter. Different policies and procedures govern the appeals process. If you have lost a legal case and believe that an appeal is possible, it is important to speak to an appellate lawyer. A lawyer can demystify the process for you and let you know what to expect in appellate court. In the meantime, below are some things you should know about appellate court before considering an appeal.
An Appeal is Not a “Do-Over”
One of the biggest misconceptions about appellate court is that during an appeal, a person gets a “do-over” in their case. This is not true. The Courts of Appeal do not weigh the evidence or look for the truth in the same manner as trial courts do. Instead, the Courts of Appeal only look for legal errors made in the original case. Even when the Courts of Appeal find a mistake, they will only consider reversing it if the error affected the outcome of the case. If the outcome of the case would not have been different without the error, the court will determine that no harm came from the mistake and they will affirm the judgment.
Winning an Appeal and Winning Your Case are Not the Same Things
Another very common misconception about appealing a case is that if a person wins their appeal, they win their case. This is also not true. A win on appeal may mean a dismissed case is reinstated, or give a person an opportunity to amend a complaint. Sometimes, a new trial or a new administrative hearing is scheduled after a person is successful with their appeal. It is important to speak with an appellate lawyer prior to appealing your case so they can advise you on the possible outcomes, and help avoid any disappointment.
Choose Errors Carefully
It is natural to want to include every mistake that was made in your case in your opening brief. However, it is usually better to choose just two or three of the biggest issues. Opening briefs are only as strong as the weakest argument they contain, and those weak arguments will only detract from the stronger ones. An appellate lawyer will fully review the facts of your case, and advise on which arguments to include in your brief.
Our Appellate Lawyers in California and Washington Can Advise You on Your Case
It is important to work with a lawyer any time you have a legal matter, but it is crucial when preparing for the appellate court. At The Appellate Law Firm, our knowledgeable appellate attorneys can advise on whether your case is eligible for appeal and if so, will prepare you for the appeals process so you know what to expect. Call us today at 877.412.4786 or fill out our online form to schedule a free phone consultation with one of our experienced attorneys so we can review your case.