Some Connecticut personal injury plaintiffs may receive an unfavorable decision from the trial court. However, a plaintiff can generally appeal that decision. Yet, as one recent personal injury case demonstrates, following the procedural rules on appeal is extremely important.
In that case, the plaintiff sustained injuries while she was taking a horseback riding lesson at the defendant’s horse stable. She claimed that her injuries were caused by the defendant’s negligence by failing to warn her of dangerous conditions at the stable and of the inherent risks of horseback riding.
The case went to trial, and the jury returned a verdict in the defendant’s favor. The plaintiff appealed. She argued that the court should not have admitted a written agreement between the parties and a photograph of a sign at the stable, which stated that the defendant was released from liability for injuries arising out of horse-related activities. The agreement stated in part that the rider would assume the “unavoidable risks inherent in all horse-related activities, including but not limited to bodily injury and physical harm to horse, rider, and spectator.” The court allowed the document and the photo to be admitted in court. The trial court told the jury that the document was only being admitted as a notice of the risks of horse riding, rather than as a release of the defendant’s liability.
However, on appeal, the appellate court found the plaintiff failed to provide the court with a complete record of the proceedings before the trial court. The plaintiff provided the court with certain transcripts from the trial but failed to provide other transcripts, including the direct examination of the plaintiff, the direct examination of another witness, and the attorneys’ closing arguments. The court explained that providing a complete record allows a reviewing court to consider the error in light of the trial as a whole. Since the plaintiff failed to provide an adequate record on appeal, the court determined it was unable to make an informed assessment of the plaintiff’s claims. As a result, the court rejected the plaintiff’s appeal and affirmed the verdict.
Connecticut Standards for Appeals
Under the rules of appellate procedure in Connecticut, the party that appeals the decision has the responsibility to provide an adequate record for review. The appellant also has the burden to establish that the trial error was so harmful that it requires a new trial. An appellate court evaluates the purported error or errors in the context of all of the evidence produced at trial. Therefore, an appellate court must review the full trial to determine the relationship of the admitted evidence to the central issues in the case, including whether it was addressed in the parties’ closing arguments, whether the trial court took any corrective measures, and whether the evidence was merely cumulative evidence.
Contact a Personal Injury Attorney
If you have been injured in a Connecticut accident, you may be entitled to compensation for your damages. Even if you received an unfavorable decision, you may be able to appeal if you act fast. Following the procedural requirements in any case is extremely important, and having a knowledgeable personal injury attorney on your side is essential. At Brickley Law, we are committed to helping you recover financially so that you can move forward in life. We understand the procedural requirements and are prepared to offer you our knowledgeable assistance. Call us at (203) 966-6600.