Can I Appeal the Final Judgment?

February 12, 2021

When you file a personal injury claim, you want to receive fair compensation to pay for your losses. You spend the litigation process building a compelling case for your right to monetary damages and, depending on the at-fault party’s willingness to cooperate, you may reach a settlement before going to court. If your case does proceed to trial, a judge will decide whether you deserve compensation and how much you should receive. If you are unhappy with the court’s decision, you have the right to appeal the final judgment.

When Can You Appeal a Judgment?

A final judgment essentially declares a case to be over, preventing the original court from making any final decisions. However, any losing party in a court case has the right to appeal the claim to a higher court. If you do not secure compensation in a personal injury lawsuit, you may be able to ask another court to examine the previous decision and determine whether it should reopen your case.

You cannot simply state that the court issued the wrong verdict to overturn the final judgment. To successfully appeal a court’s decision, you must prove that the final judgment violated the rules of the court. There are several reasons why an appellate court may overturn a lower court’s decision, including the following.

  • Jury misconduct
  • Defendant misconduct
  • The availability of new evidence
  • A mistake in the law
  • Constitutional rights violations
  • Any other action that prevented a fair trial

How to File a Final Judgment Appeal in California

There are two types of civil claims in California: limited jurisdiction cases and unlimited jurisdiction cases. A limited jurisdiction case involves claims worth $25,000 or less, while an unlimited civil claim is worth more than $25,000. Each type of civil claim is subject to its own rules for appealing a final judgment.

For limited civil cases, your case will go to the Superior Court of California’s appellate division. You must file your claim on the earlier of the two following dates.

  • 90 days after the court entered the judgment
  • 30 days after the trial court clerk or the defendant serves you notice that the court has entered a judgment for your case, or with a copy of the judgment with a filed stamp

If you are appealing an unlimited civil case, you must file your claim on the earlier of the two following dates.

  • 180 days after the court entered the judgment
  • 60 days after the trial court clerk or defendant serves you notice that the court has entered a judgment, or with a copy of the filed judgment

How Can an Attorney Help with a Civil Appeal?

Appealing a personal injury claim can be a lengthy and complex process. You will need to act quickly after your case concludes to file the appeal and serve the defendant with the proper paperwork. You will also need to adhere to the California Code of Civil Procedure and ensure you comply with all court rules. If you plan to appeal the final judgment in your personal injury case, it is very important to have an attorney on your side.

Your lawyer will understand the appellate process and can determine whether you have grounds for an appeal. He or she can represent you and your best interests throughout your case, helping you secure the compensation you need to recover. If you have not done so already, contact a California personal injury lawyer to learn more about the appeals process.