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Houma Car Accident Appeals Process

Following a car accident, it makes sense for individuals to pursue a trial. However, even if you have been injured due to a negligent driver, you might not receive the outcome that you would like. In those instances, it is important to speak with an experienced attorney about the Houma car accident appeals process. By appealing your car accident case, you could receive a second chance to recover the damages that you deserve for your injuries. If you want to know more, speak with a skilled car accident lawyer that could fight for you.

Cost of Appealing a Case

The cost of the Houma car accident appeals process can be expensive. When someone appeals a case, they have to pay the cost of preparing the record. That is usually going to be the court cost of the case at that point, plus the cost of the court reporter to transcribe the trial, plus the cost of the clerk’s office to prepare the record. On a three-day jury trial where there is a lot of testimony of many of witnesses, just the record cost alone may be $20,000 to $30,000, and an individual cannot get to the Court of Appeals without paying for the record costs. There are costs in an appeal besides legal fees, but preparing a record can be substantial on a large case.

Length of Time an Appeal Could Take

In Houma’s jurisdiction, from the time a jury verdict or a judgment is entered and an appeal has been taken, it is probably one year to one-and-a-half years before a decision by the Court of Appeals. This is because the record has to be prepared. That will take some time. The other reason is that the First Circuit Court of Appeals is a Court of Appeals that handles a lot of special matters that other courts do not handle, so their docket is a little larger compared to other courts of appeal. About a year to a year-and-a-half will elapse after an appeal has been lodged before a decision by the First Circuit Court of Appeal will be entered. Once all of that occurs, an individual can start the Houma car accident appeals process.

Circumstances That Could Impact the Length of Time an Appeal Could Take

There are circumstances where an appeal could take a longer or shorter time to get. Personal injury matters, medical malpractice cases have a preference on the trial docket, and that applies also to the Court of Appeals if someone chooses to make a request for a preference on the decision. Another preference is for elderly people. Elderly people at the trial court level, have a special statute that gives them preference. The same action can be requested at the Court of Appeals level.  Other than that, there is no reason why the appeal’s time period would be reduced unless it can be shown that the interest of justice clearly requires an immediate or special hearing. In non-personal injury cases involving politics and whether a candidate is qualified to be elected for a position, the delays on these appeals are very short as they are on other voting rights actions.

What Happens When an Appeal is Lost?

In Louisiana and in Houma, if a party is aggrieved by the trial court judgment or jury verdict and they appeal to the First Circuit Court of Appeals and do not get any relief, they may apply to the Louisiana Supreme Court through a writ of certiorari. The Supreme Court is not an appeal of right court; they select cases that they will review. Generally, it is going to be in an area of the law where there have been similar disputes in other areas of the state and there is a conflict between the courts of appeal on that particular area of the law.

Those cases with conflicts among the courts of appeal have a much greater chance of the Supreme Court deciding they will hear the appeal after a judgment has been affirmed at the First Circuit Court of Appeals level. Otherwise, if the Supreme Court denies the writ application, the judgment becomes final.  The party at fault who has been cast in judgment would then pay off the judgment, the party who was seeking the damages would execute a satisfaction of judgment, and the case is at an end.

Role of Judge and Jury During Car Accident Appeals

The other thing that people should be aware of during the Houma car accident appeals process is that the jury and the judge have a certain amount of discretion in deciding a case. Unless there is a legal error, they must cross the hurdle of proving that the factual determination was manifestly erroneous.

An example would be where a jury awarded all of the medical expenses to an injured person in a car accident case but did not award any general damages, i.e. pain and suffering, mental pain and anguish. That is a case where there is a manifest error where there would be relief at the Court of Appeals level.

Proving Injury and Impairment to Secure Damages

Another issue may be where an injured party has proven they have a permanent injury that restricts their ability to make money in the future, but a jury decided that there were no future economic losses because, at the time of the car crash, the injured party was not working and earning wages.

Under Louisiana law, the fact that someone is not working at the time of the crash does not mean they cannot make a claim for economic loss. The damages sought would be an impairment of earning capacity. The failure of a jury to award damages for impairment of earning capacity is an appealable error, one from which the injured party should get relief at the Court of Appeals level. If an individual wants to know more about securing damages during the Houma car accident appeals process, they should speak with an experienced car accident lawyer that could help.