After an auto accident in Illinois, the person(s) who is injured can file a personal injury lawsuit against the individual or party that was responsible for causing the crash. If someone dies in the collision, then the surviving relatives of the decedent can file a wrongful death lawsuit against whomever is to blame. After the lawsuits are filed, the plaintiffs and defense prepare their arguments and the case goes to court. A trial is held, and a verdict is delivered either by a judge or a jury.
Ideally, the verdict awards money to the injured party (or his/her surviving relatives), and the plaintiffs can put the entire ordeal behind them. But sometimes, the process does not end there – if the defense decides to file an appeal.
Under Illinois law, the defendant (or his/her insurance company) has the right to appeal a judgment or verdict if they are not satisfied with the outcome. In essence, the defendant (which becomes known as the appellant), asks a higher court to decide the issue. There’s no guarantee that an appeal will be granted, as the appellant must have a specific reason for filing the appeal – often relating to an error the appellant feels was made in the original trial.
Unfortunately, when a verdict is appealed, the plaintiff who filed the suit in the first place must continue navigating through the legal process. The injured party or his or her surviving relatives will not receive any of the money that was awarded until the appeal is decided. Since an appeal can take months or even years (in addition to the substantial length of time that has passed between the accident and the trial), the plaintiffs must soldier on and prepare for the appeal phase of the case. And sometimes, the appeal results in a change to the verdict – thus reducing or even eliminating the payout that was awarded to the plaintiff.
If a lawsuit verdict is appealed, every plaintiff must make his or her own decision about how to proceed. Of course, plaintiffs should always consult with their attorneys to get informed advice on what to do next. They may want to offer to settle the case with the defendant for a lower amount than was awarded at trial in exchange for an end to the case and the immediate payout of any monies to the plaintiff.
If you have any questions about the appeal process, an experienced auto accident attorney can answer them for you.