Jeffrey Johnson is a legal writer with a focus on personal injury. He has worked on personal injury and sovereign immunity litigation in addition to experience in family, estate, and criminal law. He earned a J.D. from the University of Baltimore and has worked in legal offices and non-profits in Maryland, Texas, and North Carolina. He has also earned an MFA in screenwriting from Chapman Univer...

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UPDATED: Dec 13, 2019

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The decision to appeal a case rests on several factors. The most realistic factor to consider is the extended length of time the case will consume and the emotional strain you will experience if you appeal. On average, most civil cases take two to three years for completion in the courts. An appeal will typically take another full year, and might not receive the verdict desired.

If the judge overseeing your case made some serious mistakes or they disregarded the current law, then an appeal should be considered. Mistakes that judges make that are considered appealable include refusing vital pieces of evidence, refusing to admit expert testimony, giving the jury the wrong instructions, and showing an obvious bias. These cases should always be appealed.

Remember that sometimes, some battles simply need to stop. If it became obvious to you during your trial that your side was lacking enough evidence or that the other side had the right argument, then it may be time to throw in the towel. In addition, if you had a jury trial, it is usually much more difficult to win an appeal. This is because the appeals court takes the decision of a jury very seriously and gives it much more credibility than the opinion of a judge. In fact, the court of appeal will accept all the findings of fact made by the jury, and will only decide whether a legal error was made by the judge or other certain types of errors.

An appeals brief must be submitted to a federal courthouse within 30 days of the trial court’s judgment in order to be valid. If the appeal is at all late, it will not be heard. If you are considering appealing, it is usually best to seek out an attorney experienced with appellate matters as soon as you have reached the conclusion that an appeal is best. Otherwise, you may miss your chance.