Options After Losing at Trial
The outcome in litigation is never guaranteed, even when you have a seemingly foolproof personal injury case and a topnotch attorney. But any good attorney will also tell you that losing at trial doesn’t mean that you’re out of options. Here are two legal tactics we can try post-trial to ensure you receive the compensation that you deserve.
- File a Motion for a New Trial or Rehearing
Under the Florida Rules of Civil Procedure, any party may file a motion for a new trial or rehearing on all or some of the disputed issues. Whether you file a motion for a new trial or a rehearing depends on whether the case was resolved by a jury. After a jury action you would request a new trial. After a nonjury action (like on summary judgment), you would ask for a rehearing.
(Summary judgment means the court decides the merits of the case without a full trial. This is appropriate when the facts are undisputed and the only questions before the court are legal ones.)
Here are a few other things you need to know about filing this kind of motion:
- The motion must be filed within 15 days after the verdict is returned in a jury trial or the judgment entered in a nonjury action.
- The court also has discretion to order a new trial or rehearing within the same 15-day period.
- The court must specify the reasons for granting a new trial or rehearing. Examples include jury bias or misconduct, improper jury instructions, insufficient evidence and prosecutor misconduct.
- File an Appeal.
If the court denies the motion for a new trial or rehearing, or if you lose a second time, then it’s time to think about filing an appeal. The requirements for filing an appeal are governed by the Florida Rules of Appellate Procedure. Here are a few things you need to know about the appeals process:
- You must reserve the right to appeal, which is something an experienced attorney will do.
- The next step is filing a notice of appeal, which must be done within 30 days after the trial court enters its final judgment (the jury verdict or court decision, depending on whether it’s a jury or nonjury action).
- The other party may also file a cross-appeal if he or she also thinks the trial court erred.
- An appeal is not an opportunity to present new facts. The appeals court only considers questions of law and will not consider new evidence.
Don’t try to navigate the appeals process or seek a new trial or rehearing on your own. This is when you need an experienced attorney.
Contact Us Today
Contact an Miami personal injury attorney at The Pendas Law Firm today for a free consultation if you are injured because of a negligent act. Our experienced attorneys will guide you through the litigation process and help determine your best legal option if you don’t initially succeed at trial.
The Pendas Law Firm also represents clients in the Fort Myers, West Palm Beach, Jacksonville, Fort Lauderdale, Tampa, Orlando, Daytona Beach and Bradenton areas.