A Boston construction accident premises liability appeal concerns the appeal of a trial verdict involving a the third-party defendant, usually a general contractor, subcontractor or vendor. Depending on the trial verdict, there may be several legal bases for the appeal. Generally, the appealing party will argue that the trial judge committed some type of legal error concerning evidence in the case or the conduct of the trial.
Presenting a Construction Accident Appeal
The appeal would be first made, in most case, to the Massachusetts Appeals Court. If the injured worker wishes to appeal the decision of the Massachusetts Appeals Court, they could file an appeal for further appellate review to the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court, or SJC. There are certain situations in which the injured worker’s attorney may file a direct appeal to the Massachusetts SJC and bypass the appeals court, and the SJC could decide whether to accept the appeal. If the appeal presents a legal issue that is significant to public policy, the SJC might accept it.
Benefits of Filing an Appeal
One of the benefits of filing an appeal is that it is a strategic move to keep the case active and continue meaningful settlement dialogue. While the case is being processed for appeal, a settlement resolution might be reached, bringing closure and compensation to the injured worker. If the judge committed a significant legal error during pretrial, during the trial itself, or in their final ruling, an appeal could bring that error to the attention of the appropriate appellate court, whether it is the Massachusetts Court of Appeals or the Massachusetts SJC. The appellate court could then address the legal error by recommitting the case to a new trial or other proceeding in order to resolve the matter.
Factors Influencing an Appeal Decision
The factor that often has the greatest influence on an appeal is whether the final verdict awarded damages to the injured worker. Even if a jury issues a verdict in favor of the injured worker, there might be an issue regarding evidentiary rulings by the judge, or the amount awarded to the injured worker might be considered disproportionately low compared to the extent of the worker’s injuries. The rules of civil procedure have a mechanism wherein if the amount awarded by the jury is inconsistent with the evidence admitted at trial, the trial judge can address it, or vice versa. The third-party defendant could also file a motion asking the judge to reduce the amount owed to the injured worker if the final verdict is not supported by the evidence.
Challenging an Appeal Denial
If the appeal is denied by the appellate court, a subsequent appeal may be filed with the SJC. If the appeal is denied by the SJC but it raises significant legal issues regarding fairness and the constitutional rights of the injured worker, an appeal may be filed with the United States Supreme Court. However, once an initial appeal has been denied, it is more likely to be rejected by the higher courts as well.
After receiving an appeal denial in a Boston construction site premises liability case, one can accept the denial and do nothing more or file an additional appeal at the next level of appellate review, which would be, in Massachusetts, the SJC. While the additional appeal is pending, the attorneys involved in the case may discuss the possibility of settling.
How an Attorney Could Help
A construction accident lawyer can assist you with the appeal process by thoroughly analyzing your case and determining whether there is a basis for an appeal. If there is, a lawyer will be knowledgeable of the procedural requirements to issue the notification of appeal and have the appeal formally entered with the appropriate appellate court. An attorney can research and comply with appellate rules and present persuasive oral arguments at an appeal’s hearing to convince the judge of the merits of the appeal and maximize your chances of prevailing.