If you’re planning on filing a lawsuit for a personal injury, your lawyer will advise you on how the case is likely to proceed. Most lawsuits go through a complaint, motions, answers, discovery, and a trial. At any point during that process, there is the potential for a settlement to be reached. If, however, that doesn’t happen and the case proceeds to trial, a judge or jury will make an official determination.
Sometimes, the defendant may try to convince the court to dismiss your claim. This can be done with or without prejudice. With prejudice means you cannot refile your claim, while without prejudice means you will have the opportunity to file at a later date. There’s also the possibility the court could dismiss your claim on its own volition. Either way, you’ll want to have an idea of what your options are in the event your lawsuit is dismissed.
Why Are Lawsuits Dismissed?
Not every personal injury lawsuit results in a successful outcome for the plaintiff. If your lawsuit is dismissed, it could be for one of the following reasons:
- You fail to show for trial. If the plaintiff fails to appear on the day set for trial, any party can request that the case be dismissed. If the court decides to dismiss the case, they will determine if you have the ability to file again in the future.
- The facts of the law are against you. Once your lawyer presents your evidence, the opposing party will have the opportunity to argue against you. If the defendant’s argument proves you do not have a valid claim, the lawsuit could be dismissed. This is called a directed verdict.
- You missed the statute of limitations or another deadline. You have a limited amount of time to file a personal injury claim. If you fail to meet the deadline, your case will likely be dismissed and you will not be able to take further action in the future.
In the event your lawsuit is dismissed, your lawyer will explain what your options are and how you can proceed in an attempt to continue seeking compensation.
Filing a Motion to Alter or Amend the Judgement
Your first option after your lawsuit has been dismissed is to file a Motion to Later or Amend the Judgement. This can be done under the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure Rule 59(e). It’s important to note that you have to file this motion within 28 days after the entry of the judgment. In the event you fail to do so, you won’t be able to take further legal action.
Your lawyer will help you with this process. If the motion is granted, there would be grounds for a new trial. If the motion is not granted, you have another option, which involves appealing the court’s decision.
Appealing the Decision of the Court
If you lose your motion to alter the judgment, or you decide not to make one, you have the option of filing an appeal to the U.S. Court of Appeals for your district. You’ll file paperwork indicating whose decision you wanted to be appealed. It’s important to note that if you filed a Motion to Alter, your Notice of Appeal needs to file 30 days after the Motion was denied. If you didn’t file a Motion, you should file the appeal within 30 days of the original judgment.
Grounds to have an appeal granted include misconduct of the jury, misconduct of the other side, new evidence, a mistake of law, and any other issues that prevented you from having a fair trial. The appeal will likely go one of two ways. If the court decides to uphold the original verdict, nothing changes. If, however, you are granted the appeal, your case will be sent back for a new trial.
Seek Reliable Legal Representation
If you’ve been involved in an accident and believe you have a personal injury claim, Golden Law Office is prepared to help. While it’s likely filing a claim will result in negotiations and a settlement, there is a chance your claim could go to trial—especially if negotiations do not result in full and fair compensation.
If we pursue a lawsuit on your behalf, we’ll prepare for the process and explain what is expected of you in the courtroom. To learn more about the process or to get started on a potential claim, schedule a consultation with our law firm today. We’ll review your situation and help you determine how best to proceed. Contact us today for more information.