What Are Your Options if You Lose Your Case?
Some clients wonder what will happen if they do not win at trial. Unfortunately, the outcome arrived at in the trial court will typically be the final word on the matter. Parties are left with few options after they lose.
Reviewing Courts Rarely Disturb Judgments
On many issues, trial courts are given a wide range of deference, and an appellate court will not change rulings that they make. The appellate courts assume that the trial court judge listened to the testimony and has the best understanding of the case.
The facts of a case are established and determined by the trial court, and a reviewing court will likely accept any findings of fact made by the lower court. Thus, a reviewing court will typically only overturn a trial court’s decisions on strictly legal issues such as deciding what the law controls and how it is applied.
A large majority of appealing parties do not win on appeal. According to the annual report by the Wisconsin Court System, 85 percent of cases considered by the Court of Appeals were affirmed.
Res Judicata Prevents Re-Filing a Case
Wisconsin law does not allow parties to re-litigate the same issues that have already gone to trial. This legal concept is called res judicata.
Res judicata applies to any final judgment on the merits made by a court of competent jurisdiction. It applies to any claims that were actually litigated or any claim that could have been litigated. This means that you must bring all related actions against one party at the same time.
What About Settlements?
Settlement offers are accompanied by a written agreement that releases the party offering the settlement from any future lawsuits on the issue. Settlements are almost always final, and the case cannot be taken to trial or appealed. This is why settlement offers should always be reviewed by an attorney.
Contact a Milwaukee, WI, Civil Litigation Lawyer
Because of the low success rate on appeal and the law of res judicata, it is critical to file suit properly against the responsible parties and include all possible claims arising from the event at issue. Parties that choose to represent themselves do so at their own peril.
It is also critical that a case be thoroughly investigated and researched before a suit is filed. Failure to fully understand the claims that exist may mean that a party will not be able to fully recover.
An experienced litigator will rigorously review your case to determine all possible causes of action and aggressively advocate on your behalf during trial to maximize your chances of winning. Contact the skilled Milwaukee litigation attorneys at Gimbel, Reilly, Guerin & Brown, LLP at 414-271-1440 to schedule your first meeting today.