You probably know that criminals who lose during trials have a right to an appeals process. However, if you lost in a civil case, whether as the defendant or plaintiff, you too can file an appeal. Although filing a civil appeal is not as complicated as filing one for a criminal case, it is still essential that you hire a reputable attorney in Michigan.
With an experienced attorney working on your behalf, you have a better chance of getting your civil case reviewed at either the state or federal level. Losing in a civil trial is deflating, whether you are the defendant or plaintiff. Especially if you felt confident of winning, you walk away feeling devastated. If you believe the outcome was unjust, then you should file an appeal.
- Specialized Legal Experience – While both trials and appeals involve a process that goes through the court system presided over by judges, there are stark differences between the two. The fact is that the process of filing and arguing an appeal is unique. As part of a civil trial, your attorney calls on witnesses, brings in evidence, and cross-examines the other party if that person takes the stand. In comparison, when filing an appeal, your attorney tries to persuade a panel of judges that the judge in your trial made mistakes that adversely affected the outcome. As part of the written brief or oral argument, your attorney gives compelling reasons why you deserve a second chance. Some trial attorneys handle appeals, but most do not. Therefore, it is imperative that you choose an attorney with experience and expertise specific to appeals.
- Questioning Your Trial Lawyer – The appeals process for civil cases focuses on errors made not only by the judge but also your trial lawyer. For instance, the attorney who represented you during the trial might have failed to bring in evidence, did not call on witnesses, or perhaps did not object to a critical point. If the appeals court agrees based on the written brief provided by your appellate attorney, you could have your case dismissed or get a new trial.
- New Perspective – Because of the process involved with an appeal, your attorney has the opportunity to offer a new perspective to the court regarding your civil case. Remember that a trial lawyer spends months on end focusing on a specific argument and, therefore, he or she might have overlooked critical factors. With a fresh set of eyes, the appellate attorney might see things that would make an argument for your appeal stronger.
- More Than One Appeal – If your first appeal goes before a state intermediate court and, after reviewing the details, it gets denied, that is not necessarily the end of the road. Although the U.S. Supreme Court does not consider civil cases, your attorney can submit a new brief to an appellate panel of judges at a federal level court. That means that you have more than one chance of getting your case dismissed or retried.