What happens if you lose a car accident lawsuit varies from case to case. If you and the at-fault driver couldn’t reach a settlement, going to trial may be an option. But if you already went to trial and didn’t get a favorable outcome, you may have the option to appeal. It depends on the wording in the order and what went wrong in the case. To have a right to appeal, you need to show that the judge made a mistake. If you can show that you lost the case because the judge made an error, you may be eligible to bring an appeal.
A Philadelphia car accident attorney can help you determine if you have the right to appeal your lawsuit. Kalikhman & Rayz, LLC, has decades of experience championing the rights of accident victims throughout Pennsylvania. We understand how frustrating it can be to get a less-than-favorable outcome after a crash. Our attorneys have the knowledge and training to review your case and see if appealing the ruling may be in your best interest.
What Happens if You Lose a Car Accident Lawsuit?
If your car accident lawsuit doesn’t end in your favor, you may have the option to ask another court to take a second look at the case. Under Pennsylvania rules, you typically have about 30 days to file the notice of appeal. The clock starts on the day the final order is filed in your case.
The notice of appeal gives the second court notice that you would like to file an appeal. It also tells the court clerks to start preparing and filing a record of everything that happened during the trial court case. For example, the clerk may file the official transcripts of the hearings and trial and copies of documents submitted (like the complaint).
Note that you can only appeal the decision in the car accident case if it is a final decision made in court. For example, if you and the at-fault driver couldn’t reach a settlement deal, you may be able to go to trial. If you do this and lose the case, you may be able to appeal the judge’s decision.
Likewise, if you settle the case and then decide that you would like to challenge the settlement terms, appealing may not be an option. But you may be able to take other legal action, like asking a court to review the settlement and overturn it. This might be appropriate if you were coerced into signing the settlement and didn’t understand your legal rights.
A car accident attorney who practices in Pennsylvania is best positioned to help you understand if and when appealing a ruling may be appropriate. Because deadlines may apply to your situation, it’s essential to act swiftly to avoid inadvertently missing your filing dates.
What You Need to Know About Appealing a Ruling if You Lose Your Claim
Appealing a ruling is very different from going to trial or negotiating a settlement. During an appeal, the court only looks at what has already happened in the case. You can’t file any new evidence or call new witnesses to testify. Instead, the parties only use the record they created during the original lawsuit. They also use the existing documents (e.g., motions filed in court) to show that the judge made a mistake.
Legal arguments in an appeal can often get very technical because the person bringing the case is trying to prove that the judge made an error. Having sound legal advice before and during the appeal process can help prepare victims for these cases. A car accident lawyer can also help victims understand what their expectations should be.
Do You Have to Pay Attorney Fees if You Lose Your Auto Wreck Lawsuit?
If your attorney took your case on contingency, you may not have to pay legal fees if you lose your case. In a contingency case, the lawyer handles a matter in exchange for a percentage of the victim’s eventual compensation. If the attorney doesn’t win the victim’s case, they may not receive anything in legal fees. Victims may be responsible for things like filing fees or other administrative costs. It depends on the terms of the representation agreement between the victim and their attorney.
Moreover, not all lawyers take on personal injury cases on a contingency basis. Some charge their clients hourly rates and ask them to pay this, regardless of the outcome. Others may take the case on a flat fee basis (although this is very uncommon for personal injury cases). So, whether someone’s on the hook for legal fees if they lose their case depends on their agreement with their lawyer.
How to Win Your Pennsylvania Car Accident Case
The best way to keep yourself from having to file an appeal is to increase your chances of winning your car accident case. So, how do you do that? First, you ensure you meet your filing deadlines, such as Pennsylvania’s two-year statute of limitations. If you lose your case because of a missed deadline, you may be unable to file an appeal (unless you can prove the judge was wrong about you missing the deadline).
Second, you should ensure that you are prepared for the legal process. This means doing your legal research before the court date and having reasoned arguments to present to the judge. A personal injury attorney in Philadelphia can assist you with this task by doing all the heavy lifting for you (including representing you in court).
Lastly, carefully tracking your injury-related expenses is another way to help set yourself up for success. For example, if you have to take a cab because your car was in the shop after the accident, make note of the day, time, and fare. Likewise, track how your pain levels interfere with your daily tasks. You can use these details to support a claim for pain and suffering.
What Can You Do Instead of Going to Trial in Your Accident Case?
If you don’t want to go to trial, you can try to work out a settlement with the at-fault party and their insurance company. Going this route may save you the time and money involved in preparing for trial. Likewise, it might remove the uncertainty of waiting for a judge or jury to decide your case. But it’s essential to go into negotiations with a level head and be prepared for pushback. The at-fault party and their insurance company likely want to pay out as little as possible, so they may not offer you fair compensation for what you’ve gone through.
A lawyer can help you estimate what a fair settlement might look like in your situation. They can also advocate for you during settlement talks and ensure you understand the terms before you sign away your rights (such as the right to sue). If the other parties refuse to give you a fair offer, the lawyer can press the case on to trial.
What Financial Compensation Can You Receive in a Car Accident Settlement?
Pennsylvania law allows people to recover several different types of compensation if they win their car accident lawsuits. Typically, the legal damages they can get fall into two categories: economic and non-economic. Monetary compensation reimburses people for the financial cost of the crash. In other words, things people have receipts for. Examples of economic damages include mechanic bills, healthcare costs, lost wages, and injury-related prescription medications.
In contrast, non-economic damages address the invisible losses people experience after an injury. For example, the victim might be entitled to pain and suffering for what they endured because of the crash.
The type of insurance someone has can impact their ability to bring a lawsuit and collect damages. In Pennsylvania, people can take out limited or full tort policies. Limited tort policies typically don’t let people file for pain and suffering unless they have a severe injury. In contrast, full tort coverage allows victims to pursue legal damages (including pain and suffering) in court. An attorney can help victims understand if and when they can bring a lawsuit for damages. If an insurance issue causes the victim to lose their lawsuit, a lawyer can help them determine if they can refute this decision.
Kalikhman & Rayz, LLC: We Can Help You Appeal Your Car Accident Case
If you lose your car accident case, you may have the option to appeal the ruling. In limited cases, challenging the settlement agreement in court may be possible. But doing these things (and knowing when it’s possible to do so) takes great skill. Many people find it challenging to handle these claims without legal help from a trained attorney.
Kalikhman & Rayz, LLC provides top-notch legal counsel to victims of car accidents throughout Pennsylvania. Our personal injury attorneys have been practicing for a combined four decades. They have helped dozens of people successfully navigate their auto wreck claims and hold negligent drivers accountable for their actions. They have also provided legal advice to those who lost their lawsuit and want to know what to do next. Past clients describe Kalikhman & Rayz, LLC as an excellent team that delivers results and is dedicated to their clients.
If you were in a car accident and lost your lawsuit, contact us today by calling 267-489-2204 to schedule a consultation.