Can You Get a New Personal Injury Trial Based on New Evidence?
Consider the following situation: You and your loved one are traveling in a car when another driver slams into you. You and your loved one are injured and receive medical treatment from the local emergency room. You both incur medical expenses, lost wages, and other losses and as a result, you and your loved one file personal injury lawsuits to recover compensation for these expenses. It is unclear, however, who is at fault for the accident, and without witnesses or concrete evidence to support your assertions that the other driver was at fault, your personal injury lawsuits are not successful.
Suppose, however, that a few months after your personal injury lawsuits have been resolved, you learn of a witness who claims he saw the whole accident unfold and is now willing to testify on your behalf. Is this help too late to truly assist you?
Reopening a Closed Case Based on New Evidence
In general, once a judgment has been entered in a personal injury case and that judgment has been either affirmed on appeal or no appeal has been filed, the personal injury case cannot be relitigated nor can the victim request additional compensation. So, for example, if the victim initially requests and receives $50,000 for his or her expenses but later learns that his or her actual losses are $75,000, the victim will be precluded from returning to court and pursuing the additional $25,000.
In certain rare circumstances, however, a case that has concluded may be able to be “reopened” through a new lawsuit if there is new evidence available to one party or the other. The existence of new evidence by itself, however, will not generally result in a new trial. In order for a new trial motion to be granted based upon new evidence the new evidence must typically be found to:
- Be material to the lawsuit. The evidence must be of a weight and persuasiveness that it could conceivably result in a different verdict in the case; and
- Not have been able to be within the ability of the party seeking the new trial to have discovered prior to the resolution of the previous trial. For example, if there was a manner whereby you could have discovered the identity of this witness earlier but simply did not devote the time or resources to doing so, your new trial motion will likely be denied.
A Riverside Personal Injury Law Firm can Help
If you believe you have new evidence that could warrant a new trial in your personal injury case, speak with Heiting & Irwin right away. We can help determine if you are entitled to a new trial and, if so, will work with you to prepare and file your motion for new trial right away. Call our firm at (951) 682-6440, or complete our online contact form right away.