Appealing Virginia Medical Malpractice Cases 

If a medical malpractice case is dismissed or if the verdict was not optimal, a plaintiff may be able to appeal their Virginia medical malpractice case depending on the facts and circumstances. An individual may have it appealed from the circuit court, which hears most medical malpractice cases. That is part of the additional jurisdiction through the Virginia Court of Appeals or through the Virginia Supreme Court. While an experienced Virginia medical malpractice attorney does not do appeals, they can help by providing a thorough understanding of the process.

Right to Appeal

In Virginia civil cases, the losing party may not have an appeal as a matter of right, but they do have an appeal if there is error on the record. By noting an appeal and properly following the rules set out of Virginia Supreme Court and Rule 5, which governs the court of appeals cases, the parties may seek to have a defense verdict overturned and an unreasonably low verdict set aside. There will be a trial granted or other relief, depending on the facts and circumstances of their case.

There are rules in Virginia governing the civil procedure for when and why appeals may be taken if a claimant feels that they will only be taken for final orders of the court or orders that are final as to their ability to appeal. There are limited circumstances when someone can appeal a final order and the chance of the court ruling may be a final order.

Length of An Appeal

Typically, appealing a Virginia medical malpractice case take a long period of time, because of the lengthy and detailed appeal process. The appeal process has very specific rules as outlined in Rule 5 of the rules of the Supreme Court of Virginia.

They also have very detailed requirements for its form, meaning in addition to advanced legal information, it must have the right typeface, the right spacing, and the right number of pages. The legal writing requirements must also be followed.

Parties typically start an appeal by making a notice of appeal, followed by a petition. Then, that petition may be accompanied by a brief, which may talk about oral arguments if requested.

That is just the beginning of the appeals process. That can take several months or even longer. It is not uncommon for a case that goes up on appeals on a civil case, including Virginia medical malpractice case, where the appeal process will last more than one year.

Generally, the appeal process is going to be longer if the issues to be decided are more nuanced, legally-specific in nature, or investigated more comments on an undecided or controversial area of law. Those appeals may be shorter, but those are appeals that are on fact-based decisions and appeals that are seeking to overturn an established law.

Losing an Appeal

If the Virginia medical malpractice appeal is lost, the case is over if all appeal methods are exhausted. Just because someone loses the appeal at the court of appeals or if the appeal is not successful, it does not mean they would be eligible to appeal that decision to the Virginia Supreme Court.

Typically, rulings in Virginia Supreme Court are final. Once they create and issue a law, it is appropriate for the U.S. Supreme Court to consider. There are various scenarios in which the court of appeals would be the final court. In other scenarios, someone might have the opportunity to go the Virginia Supreme Court and potentially even the U.S. Supreme Court.

Other Factors to Consider When Appealing a Case

A person needs to be aware that the Virginia appeal rules are very strict. Cases may be dismissed for lack of following the specific procedures. They may even be dismissed if the printers or couriers did not follow the certain procedures. There are a variety of different things that may come up in these cases that may weigh on whether or not appeals are appropriate.

A person should also be aware that appeals are time-consuming. They should always talk to an attorney or law firm that is experienced in appeals.

Appeals are complicated and nuanced. There are many Virginia law firms that practice only the appeals process for this reason. An attorney who does not have experience in appeals or does not have the time to get that experience may not be the best fit for a Virginia appeals case.

How a Virginia Medical Malpractice Attorney Can Help

While an attorney does not specifically appeal, they can help someone by preserving their right to appeal, by noting error on the record, and by helping them connect with an experienced Virginia appellate attorney who has experience with Virginia appellate courts.

It is important to have an experienced attorney a person can trust to talk about what their appeal options may be, when these appeals may often arise, and how they can most successfully begin that process.